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Merck to acquire Afferent Pharmaceuticals in $1.25 billion deal

Staff writer |
Merck, known as MSD outside the United States and Canada, and Afferent Pharmaceuticals have signed a definitive agreement under which Merck will acquire this privately held pharmaceutical company.

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Afferent Pharmaceuticals is a leader in the development of therapeutic candidates targeting the P2X3 receptor for the treatment of common, poorly-managed, neurogenic conditions.

Afferent’s lead investigational candidate, AF-219, is a selective, non-narcotic, orally-administered P2X3 antagonist currently being evaluated in a Phase 2b clinical trial for the treatment of refractory, chronic cough as well as in a Phase 2 clinical trial in idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) with cough.

Under terms of the agreement, Merck, through a subsidiary, will acquire all outstanding stock of Afferent in exchange for an upfront payment of $500 million in cash.

Also, Afferent shareholders will be eligible to receive a total of up to an additional $750 million associated with the attainment of certain clinical development and commercial milestones for multiple indications and candidates, including AF-219.

The closing of the transaction will be subject to certain conditions, including the expiration of the waiting period under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act and other customary conditions. The companies anticipate the transaction will close in the third quarter of 2016.

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