Idera: Novartis deal ends, Merck pact extended

AP News
Posted: Nov 25, 2009 12:14 PM

Idera Pharmaceuticals Inc. on Wednesday announced the end of a research partnership with Novartis AG, but said Merck & Co. is extending its work with Idera for another year.

Novartis, a Swiss drugmaker, will end its work with Idera on Feb. 21, 2010. The companies has been working together since 2005 to develop asthma and allergy drugs. When the partnership ends, Idera will regain the rights to a drug candidate the companies had worked on.

The product is designated QAX935, or IMO-2134, and Novartis tested it as an intranasal treatment for respiratory diseases.

Idera, of Cambridge, Mass., also said Merck extended its research collaboration for a fourth year. The companies teamed up in December 2006 to develop vaccines that could be used against cancer, infectious diseases, and Alzheimer's disease.

The extension will complete the contract between Idera and Merck, as the companies agreed to work together for two years with two one-year options.

In midday trading, Idera shares fell 8 cents to $4.92.