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Mercury Therapeutics, Inc: Lead Series of Indirect AMPK Activators Licensed to Makoto Life Sciences
Date:3/12/2008

WOBURN, Massachusetts, March 12 /PRNewswire/ -- Mercury Therapeutics, Inc. (MTI), a company that discovers and develops orally active protein kinase targeted drugs, announces that it has signed an exclusive license agreement with Makoto Life Sciences, Inc., of Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Under this agreement, MTI has licensed to Makoto its lead series of high potency activators of AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK), a well validated drug target for the treatment of Type-2 diabetes. As part of the license, MTI will transfer all assets related to its MT-39 series of indirect AMPK activators, including all materials, research notes, synthetic routes, and the structures of over 40 compounds. MTI will advise Makoto on the continuing development of the MT-39 series.

Unlike MTI's internal R&D program, which is focused on developing small molecules that activate AMPK by direct binding, the MT-39 series of compounds are indirect AMPK activators and appear to act with high potency through a cellular pathway which has not yet been identified. The successful clarification of this pathway may lead to the development of new targets and compounds for the treatment of metabolic disease.

MTI's series of compounds were originally identified in the course of a collaboration with Aventis, a large pharmaceutical company. That relationship ended in 2004 and all rights, including the MT-39 series of compounds, reverted entirely and exclusively to Mercury. MTI subsequently launched a medicinal chemistry program targeting the MT-39 core structure, and identified a number of congeners with low nanomolar activities and efficacy in animal models of glucose metabolism. As activators of AMPK, the MT-39 series of compounds could be expected to improve glycemic control in Type-2 diabetics, and lower other risk factors associated with cardiovascular disease.

While the specific terms of the license agreement have not been disclosed, Makoto will be responsible, among
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SOURCE Mercury Therapeutics Inc.
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