The US-based Merck & Co., Inc. and Sun Pharmaceuticals have entered into an exclusive worldwide licensing agreement for Merck’s dermatology molecule – tildrakizumab (MK-3222), which is currently under phase 3 registration trials. Tildrakizumab is developed for the treatment of chronic plaque psoriasis, a skin ailment.

Under terms of the agreement, Sun Pharma will acquire worldwide rights to tildrakizumab for use in all human indications from Merck in exchange for an upfront payment of $80 million. Merck will continue all clinical development and regulatory activities, which will be funded by Sun Pharma.

Upon product approval, Sun Pharma will be responsible for regulatory activities, including subsequent submissions, pharmacovigilance, post approval studies, manufacturing and commercialization of the approved product while Merck will receive undisclosed payments as well as tiered royalties, stated a Sun Pharma release.

“Consistent with our previously announced global initiative to sharpen our commercial and R&D focus, including prioritizing our late stage pipeline candidates, we are pleased to enter into this agreement with Sun Pharma to help realize the potential of tildrakizumab for patients with chronic plaque psoriasis,” said Iain D. Dukes, senior vice president, Business Development and Licensing, Merck Research Laboratories.

Other potential indications of tildrakizumab, which may be uated in future, include psoriatic arthritis and Crohn’s Disease.

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