- Pharmaceutical company 4D Pharma said it had entered into a research collaboration and option to license agreement with MSD, the tradename of Merck, to discover and develop live biotherapeutics for vaccines.

Under the terms of the agreement, 4D's proprietary MicroRx platform would be paired with MSD's expertise in the development and commercialisation of novel vaccines, to discover and develop live biotherapeutics (LPBs) as vaccines in up to three undisclosed indications, the company said.

In addition to an upfront cash payment, for each indication, 4D would be eligible to receive up to $347.5m in option exercise and development and regulatory milestone payments, plus tiered royalties on annual net sales of any licensed products derived from the collaboration.

The agreement also included a clause for 4D, subject to certain conditions, to cause MSD to purchase $5m shares in 4D during the first 12 months of the collaboration.

MSD would be responsible for development, manufacturing and commercialisation following the exercise of any of its exclusive options.

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