Ra Pharmaceuticals Announces Broad Collaboration with Merck to Develop Cyclomimetics™

Mon Apr 1, 2013 1:41pm EDT

* Reuters is not responsible for the content in this press release.


--Ra Pharma Eligible to Receive Up to $200M--
CAMBRIDGE, Mass.--(Business Wire)--
Ra Pharmaceuticals today announced it has entered into a collaboration with
Merck, known as MSD outside the United States and Canada, focused on the
development of Cyclomimetics, a new class of compounds that have the diversity
and specificity of antibodies while retaining the attributes of small molecules.
Under the agreement, Ra Pharmaceuticals will use its proprietary Extreme
Diversity platform to develop Cyclomimetic candidates for protein targets in
multiple therapeutic areas. 

"Cyclomimetics have novel properties that enable the targeting of
protein-protein interactions, a property sought after for a wide range of
disease indications," said Doug Treco, Ph.D., Co-Founder, President and CEO, Ra
Pharmaceuticals. "The collaboration with Merck highlights the broad potential of
our Extreme Diversity platform and provides us with the resources to strengthen
and advance our core technology." 

"This agreement with Ra Pharmaceuticals underscores our strategy of
collaborating with scientists who have developed innovative new technologies
with the potential to complement and enhance our original research and product
portfolio," said Richard Tillyer, Ph.D., Head of Drug Discovery and Preclinical
Sciences, Merck Research Laboratories. 

Under the terms of the agreement, Ra Pharmaceuticals is eligible to receive up
to $200 million in payments, including up-front and research funding, as well as
upon the achievement of discovery, development, regulatory and commercialization
milestones for multiple targets. 

About Cyclomimetics 

Cyclomimetics are peptide-like molecules characterized by their cyclic structure
and backbone and side-chain modifications that provide unique, beneficial
properties not found in natural peptides. The result is a highly specific and
stable molecule with improved cell permeability and the potential for greatly
increased bioavailability. 

Cyclomimetics are generated using the Company`s proprietary Extreme Diversity
platform. The platform is unique in that it combines in vitro display
technology, a completely defined translation system and a wide variety of
non-natural amino acids. Unlike certain other display technologies, in vitro
display does not require the use of a bacterial or yeast host, and it can
produce libraries of 10 to 100 trillion members. Further, the technology has the
potential to address protein-protein interactions and other previously
undruggable targets. 

About Ra Pharmaceuticals

Ra Pharma is leveraging its ability to rapidly generate drug candidates to
develop its own portfolio of products and partnerships focused on intracellular
protein-protein interactions and other innovative approaches for addressing
unmet medical needs. For more information, please visit: www.rapharma.com. 

Ra Pharma was incorporated in 2008 and secured a $27M Series A in February of
2010 led by New Enterprise Associates with Morgenthaler Ventures, Novartis
Venture Funds and Amgen Ventures participating.

MacDougall Biomedical Communications
Michelle Avery, 781-235-3060 

Copyright Business Wire 2013

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