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Quartet Medicine enters strategic agreement with Merck

We recently presented the story of Quartet Medicine, a company that was  founded by scientists at Boston Children’s Hospital, École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL)/ NCCR Chemical Biology in conjunction with Atlas Venture.  The start-up is dedicated to produce new compounds to treat chronic pain and inflammation with a focus on controlling BH4 levels.

One year after its creation, this promising start-up was highlighted by Nature Biotechnology as one of the Top Academic Start-ups of 2014. More recently, Quartet’s Series A investors included Atlas VentureNovartis Venture Funds, Partners Innovation Fund, Pfizer Venture InvestmentsRemeditex Ventures, and two undisclosed Shanghai-based strategic investors.

Quartet Medicine announced yesterday a Strategic Partnership with Merck. As explained by Kevin Pojasek, Ph.D., Quartet’s President and Chief Executive Officer in GEN news highlight, “Merck  is an ideal partner to help advance development of Quartet’s potential first-in-class therapy for chronic pain”. “This agreement provides a mutually beneficial collaboration framework, while providing Quartet significant non-dilutive research and development funding to advance our program through human proof-of-concept.”

Under the terms of the agreement, Quartet will receive up to $20 million split equally across an upfront payment and an undisclosed future development milestone. This research and development funding will be used to advance Quartet’s lead program through Phase 2a clinical proof-of-concept for the treatment of pain. In return, Merck obtains an exclusive option to purchase Quartet. If Merck exercises its option, Quartet will receive a pre-determined, undisclosed option exercise payment along with potential development, regulatory and sales milestones of up to $575 million in total.

The company is based in Cambridge, Massachusetts and has research efforts underway with collaborators in Europe and Asia.