Irish pharmaceutical firm Allergan has signed an agreement with Merck to acquire the exclusive worldwide rights of its investigational small molecule oral calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) receptor antagonists for around $250m.

The deal provides Allergan rights to two CGRP receptor antagonists, including MK-1602 and MK-8031, which are being developed to treat and prevent migraines.

MK-1602 is an oral small molecule antagonist for the acute treatment of migraines. A Phase II study of MK-1602 was completed, with end of Phase II discussions with FDA planned before starting Phase III.

"The agreement helps position Allergan as a potential leader in the acute treatment of migraine and prevention of migraine for millions of patients."

MK-8031 is an oral small molecule antagonist for the prevention of migraines and Phase II study of the antagonist is expected to start in 2016.

Allergan global brands research and development executive vice-president David Nicholson said: "The agreement to acquire exclusive worldwide rights to Merck’s CGRP migraine development programme builds on our existing strength in neurosciences and helps position Allergan as a potential leader in the acute treatment of migraine and prevention of migraine for millions of patients."

Merck will receive potential development and commercial milestone payments and tiered double-digit royalties based on commercialisation of the CGRP programmes.

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Allergan will take responsibility for the development of CGRP programmes, in addition to the manufacturing and commercialisation upon approval and launch of the products.

Merck Research Laboratories business development and licencing senior vice-president Iain Dukes said: "We are pleased that this agreement will enable Allergan to advance these promising molecules for the potential benefit of migraine sufferers, and that Merck will be able to continue to further focus our research and development resources on our priority therapeutic areas."