Cerveau Technologies Inc. finalized a deal with Merk which will see Cerveau providing the pharmaceutical and life sciences company with an investigational imaging agent for assessing the progression of neurofibrillary tangles (NTFs) in the brain.
NFTs made up of aggregated tau protein are believed to provide a hallmark of several neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer’s disease.
“At Cerveau, we are focused on providing information and technologies to researchers and clinicians in order to improve brain health,” said Rick Hiatt, president, and CEO of Cerveau. “We are excited by the opportunity to work with Merck and the pharmaceutical industry in providing access to this investigational imaging agent to the broader scientific community.”
As part of the agreement, Cerveau will be responsible for providing access to MK-6240 at multiple sites globally to be used in Merck-specific research initiatives.
In early studies published in the Journal of Medicinal Chemistry, Merck scientists reported that [18F]MK-6240 has a high specificity and selectivity for neurofibrillary tangles with favorable physicochemical properties and in vivo pharmacokinetics that warranted clinical investigation as a potential positron emission tomography (PET )neuroimaging agent.
Merck and Cerveau are currently conducting an open-label Phase 1 study to investigate the safety and efficacy of [18F]MK-6240 as a PET imaging agent for quantifying brain burden of neurofibrillary tangle pathology.
“There is a critical need for new imaging agents that provide sensitive biomarkers to enable early diagnosis of neurodegenerative diseases and allow for more appropriate staging of disease states, and measuring the effect of disease-modifying therapeutics,” said Cyrille Sur, executive director, translational imaging biomarkers, Merck Research Laboratories. “Agreements such as this provide a platform to evaluate the potential of our novel Tau imaging agent.”