Idera Pharmaceuticals and Merck & Co have extended their collaboration to research, develop and commercialise vaccine products based on new investigational agonist compounds for a fourth year.

The collaboration, signed in 2006, was built to target toll-like receptors (TLRs) 7, 8, and 9 in the fields of oncology, infectious diseases, and Alzheimer’s disease by combining the two companies’ expertise.

The agreement included targeting TLR7 and TLR8 using both Merck and Idera’s chemistry for use in vaccines in the licensed fields, with Merck having the right to extend the collaboration for two additional one-year periods.

Idera vice-president of development programmes Tim Sullivan said that he looked forward to continued studies with selected TLR agonist candidates as vaccine adjuvants.

“During the first three years of our agreement, we created a large portfolio of novel agonists of TLRs 7, 8, and 9 using Idera’s chemistry-based approach together with Merck’s innovations in chemistry and adjuvant formulation,” he said.