Acumen Pharmaceuticals regains worldwide rights to anti-ADDL antibody therapeutics and diagnostics for Alzheimer’s disease from Merck

Acumen Pharmaceuticals announced the termination by Merck Sharp & Dohme Corp., (formerly Merck & Co., Inc.) of a 2003 agreement, amended in 2006, under which Acumen granted Merck exclusive worldwide rights to develop and commercialize anti-ADDL antibody therapeutics and diagnostics for Alzheimer’s disease. 

Merck's decision to discontinue this anti-ADDL Alzheimer’s program and terminate the Merck-Acumen license agreement was based on internal strategic priorities. Under the termination provisions of the agreement, Acumen regains rights licensed to Merck, and also receives certain rights to patent applications and know how generated during the term of the Agreement. Anti-ADDL antibodies have high selectivity for soluble amyloid beta oligomers versus monomeric amyloid beta peptides or insoluble amyloid beta aggregates. Acumen believes this selectivity will favorably differentiate Acumen anti-ADDL immunotherapies compared to amyloid beta immunotherapies currently in late stage clinical testing. 

“Acumen is very pleased to regain worldwide rights for the development and commercialization of anti-ADDL antibody therapeutics and diagnostics,” stated Grant Krafft, Acumen’s Chairman and Chief Science Adviser. 

“The recent failures of a gamma secretase inhibitor and the limited efficacy observed so far with non-selective amyloid beta immunotherapies indicates that industry may have been focused on suboptimal targets within the amyloid beta pathways,” stated Dr. Franz Hefti, Acumen’s President and CEO. “Our Merck colleagues successfully advanced anti-ADDL antibody therapeutics to a late pre-clinical development stage based on antibodies that we believe will allow Acumen to develop a best in class, disease modifying therapy for Alzheimer’s disease.”