AiCuris’ Letermovir succeeds in Phase III after being licensed to MSD in a record €442.5M deal. It acts on a novel CMV target to treat bone marrow transplant infections.
AiCuris is a spin-out company from Bayer, Germany’s biggest Pharma, that focuses on developing drugs for infectious diseases. The company licensed its candidate Letermovir (AIC246) to MSD (Merck & co.) in 2012, making it the highest deal of Germany that year with €442.5M. MSD just announced positive results for Letermovir in Phase III clinical trials, which means a new big milestone payment for AiCuris.
Letermovir is an antiviral drug against human cytomegalovirus (CMV), which is responsible for severe infections and death of immunocompromised patients. Although no details have been released for now, the trial has met its primary endpoint: reducing the percentage of bone marrow transplant patients with significant CMV infections.
Unlike CMV treatments in the market, which target DNA polymerase, Letermovir inhibits the replication of the virus by targeting the viral terminase complex. This enzyme is necessary in the last step of replication,