Merck, Portola to develop new oral anticoagulant in $470M deal

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Merck and Portola Pharmaceuticals have signed a global collaboration and license agreement for the development and commercialization of betrixaban, an investigational oral Factor Xa inhibitor anticoagulant currently in Phase II clinical development for the prevention of stroke in patients with atrial fibrillation.

In return for an exclusive worldwide license to betrixaban, Merck will pay Portola an initial fee of $50 million. The San Francisco-based Portola is eligible to receive additional cash payments totaling up to $420 million upon achievement of certain development, regulatory and commercialization milestones, as well as double-digit royalties on global sales of betrixaban, if approved.

The Whitehouse Station, N.J.-based Merck will assume development and commercialization costs, including the costs of phase III clinical trials. Portola has retained an option to co-fund phase III clinical trials in return for additional royalties and to co-promote betrixaban with Merck in the U.S.