Alectos Therapeutics has entered into a research partnership with Merck to identify and develop compounds that could help to treat Alzheimer’s disease.

Under the terms of agreement, Merck will to develop compounds that modulate O-linked N-acetylglucosaminidase (O-GlcNAcase), an enzyme believed to ne involved in the development of Alzheimer’s, and will fund research of Alectos’ existing portfolio of compounds that target the disease.

Alectos will be eligible to receive $289m from an upfront fee, research, development, regulatory milestones, and tiered royalty payments on product sales resulting from this partnership.

Alectos and Merck will collaborate on discovery and pre-clinical development, while Merck will be responsible for clinical development.

Merck will have a worldwide license to market and commercialise any resulting products.