updated 12/22/2010 2:18:23 AM ET 2010-12-22T07:18:23

DUBLIN, Ireland, Dec. 22, 2010 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Merrion Pharmaceuticals Plc, a publicly listed product development company, today announced the signing of a Collaboration and Option agreement with Novo Nordisk. The agreement will evaluate the ability of Merrion's patented GIPET® technology to boost the oral bioavailability of an undisclosed proprietary compound.

Following the feasibility studies, Novo Nordisk will have the option to enter into a further licensing agreement for Merrion's GIPET technology. The financial terms of a possible future licensing agreement have been pre-agreed.

As part of the agreement Merrion has granted Novo Nordisk a warrant to acquire ordinary shares of up to €1,500,000 in Merrion at yesterday's closing share price (€3.00). The warrant will be exercisable for 20 business days commencing on the day following the signing of a license agreement.

Merrion can request Novo Nordisk to acquire up to €500,000 worth of shares in Merrion at yesterday's closing share price (€3.00) exercisable for 20 business days commencing on the day following the signing of a license agreement.

Commenting on the announcement, John Lynch, CEO, Merrion Pharmaceuticals, said, "We are very pleased to be entering into another agreement with Novo Nordisk with our unique GIPET technology. This agreement further strengthens the links between the two companies following the license agreements for oral GLP-1 and Insulin respectively. This, along with the other recently announced agreements with Rebel and a top 10 pharma company, means that Merrion has an additional 6 compounds in its preclinical pipeline."

Merrion's patented drug delivery technology, GIPET®, is supported by a large database reflecting 10 years' research and development by drug delivery experts and 21 clinical studies conducted on a broad range of drug types. In a database comprising more than 40 compounds, GIPET has shown the ability to improve absorption by as much as 200 times, achieving excellent intersubject reproducibility and with a positive safety database. This includes traditional small molecules as well as biopharmaceutical peptides and proteins, making GIPET a platform technology with broad applicability. Merrion's technology is endorsed through collaborations with pharmaceutical companies such as Novo Nordisk (oral Insulin, oral GLP-1), Ferring Pharmaceuticals and others.

About Merrion:

Merrion Pharmaceuticals is a publicly listed product development company focused on delivering innovation to the market by:

  • designing our own patented products and
  • partnering with other pharmaceutical companies to develop patented products.

Established in 2003, Merrion are engaged in the development of oral forms (tablets/capsules) of drugs that have poor absorption and are generally given by injection. Merrion Pharmaceuticals' patented drug delivery technologies (GIPET®) hugely increase bioavailability, by improving absorption in the gastrointestinal tract, of drugs that are otherwise poorly absorbed. As well as increasing absorption, Merrion's technologies also increase the consistency of absorption.

These new products can provide substantial benefits in enhanced drug efficacy, improved safety, toxicity and side effect profile, health economics, patient experience and quality of life.

Merrion has agreements with several pharmaceutical companies. Merrion has two license agreements with Novo Nordisk A/S to develop and commercialise oral Insulin and oral GLP-1 using Merrion's GIPET technology. Merrion also has an oral drug delivery research collaborative program with Ferring Pharmaceuticals, a Swiss based international pharmaceutical company. There are other, unannounced collaborations.

Merrion Pharmaceuticals is based in Dublin, in a state of the art, purpose built cGMP facility which allows rapid development and reduced risk in taking product ideas from conception to final product formulation. Merrion also has operations in Wilmington, North Carolina.

Merrion is listed on the Irish Stock Exchange (ESM) under the symbol MERR.


CONTACT:  Merrion Pharmaceuticals
          Jonathan O'Connell
          + 353 (0) 1 6423300

          Goodbody Stockbrokers
          Diane Hodgson
          Linda Hickey
          + 353 (0) 1 6670400

          Brunswick Group
          Jon Coles
          Will Carnwath
          + 44 207 404 5959

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