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Merck-backed biotech startup launches in Union

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Prokaryotics, a newly launched biotech startup in Union, has entered into a licensing agreement with Kenilworth-based Merck to develop, manufacture and commercialize novel anti-infective drugs.

Under the agreement, Prokaryotiks will work on a collection of pre-clinical programs and compounds that lead to the next generation of antibiotics. Specifically, the firm will attempt to enhance today’s antibiotics, given that many common infections are predicted to become resistant to today’s antibiotics within the next 20 to 30 years.

Merck is a shareholder in the company and has investor rights and Board Observer Seat Status. Prokaryotics is located at the Institute for Life Science Entrepreneurship at Kean University, and its founder and chief scientific officer, Dr. Terry Roemer, is the former head of Merck’s Antimicrobial Early Discovery unit.

"As a leader in antibiotics research and development we are grateful for Merck's support in the formation of Prokaryotics and sharing our vision in providing innovation in the field of antibiotic R&D and commitment to addressing the global threat of antibiotic resistance," said Roemer in a press release. 

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Vince Calio

Vince Calio

Vince Calio covers health care and manufacturing for NJBIZ. You can contact him at vcalio@njbiz.com.

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