Harvard University will partner with Merck & Co. to develop small-molecule treatments for acute myeloid leukemia (AML) and other cancers, in a $20 million-plus collaboration announced today.
The treatments consist of compounds that were developed in the lab of Harvard investigator Matthew Shair, Ph.D. According to Harvard, Dr. Shair’s therapeutic approach to treating AML consists of inhibiting enzymes that regulate the transcription of genetic programs altered in AML and other cancers.
Merck has agreed to take over development of the candidate therapeutics, including clinical development, and will oversee worldwide commercialization of products. The pharma giant will engage in a research collaboration with Dr. Shair’s laboratory to investigate further the biology of transcriptional regulator enzymes.