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Cerecor Acquires Rights to Merck COMT Inhibitors
Date:3/20/2013

BALTIMORE, March 20, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Cerecor Inc, a neuroscience biotech company that develops therapies that have the potential to make a difference in diseases with high unmet medical needs, today announced that it has acquired exclusive, worldwide rights to develop, register and commercialize agents that inhibit catechol-O-methyltransferase inhibitors ("COMT inhibitors"), previously discovered and owned by Merck, known as MSD outside the United States and Canada. 

(Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20120411/PH85852LOGO )

COMT is an enzyme that breaks down dopamine, a neurotransmitter that plays a key role in higher brain functions such as motivation, cognition and emotion. Drugs that inhibit COMT have been used to treat patients with Parkinson's disease; however, they have poor brain penetration and limited safety and tolerability.   COMT inhibition also has broad potential applicability in other CNS diseases, such as addictive behaviors and schizophrenia, by specifically increasing dopamine levels in areas of the brain affected by these conditions.  While the development of schizophrenia drugs to date has focused on reducing psychosis, improvement in functional outcome has been largely unattainable because current drugs do not have clinically significant impact on the "negative symptoms" and cognitive impairment of the disease.  Drugs that inhibit COMT improve working memory and other measures of cognitive function in animals and in clinical studies (normal subjects and in schizophrenics). 

"Merck has developed an innovative COMT platform that has addressed the toxicity associated with existing COMT drugs.  By accessing this platform, Cerecor broadens its cognition pipeline, which also includes DAAO inhibitors.  This enhances our leadership in neuropsychiatric dr
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SOURCE Cerecor Inc
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