Helix and Merck terminate topical interferon collaboration

Helix BioPharma and Merck ($MRK) have terminated their collaboration to develop a topical formulation of interferon alpha-2b using Helix's Biphasix delivery technology.

The two companies signed the material transfer and license option agreement in December 2000. By terminating the agreement, Merck forfeits its option rights to license the delivery technology.

The topical formulation of interferon alpha-2b is Helix's most advanced product in clinical development and is in development for the treatment of certain skin and mucosal lesions caused by HPV (human papillomavirus) infections.

As the agreement with Merck also included access to a supply of interferon alpha-2b, Helix will need to seek alternative suppliers to supply its forthcoming U.S. Phase II/III and European Phase III clinical trials. Helix is now free to seek another strategic partner to collaborate on this project.

- read the press release (pdf)