Trevena, a company involved in the discovery and development of G-protein coupled receptor (GPCR) biased ligands, has started a research collaboration with Merck, through a subsidiary.
Financial details for the research partnership have not been disclosed.
As part of the research partnership, both companies will focus on screening for biased ligands against an undisclosed receptor using Trevena’s proprietary assays and knowledge on biased ligands.
Trevena designs GPCR ligands that are "biased" toward activating one key receptor signaling pathway while blocking another, unlike traditional GPCR ligands which either turn on or turn off all of the cellular signaling pathways engaged by a particular receptor.
According to Trevena, an enhanced level of drug specificity which allows decreased side effects or enhanced efficacy to be designed into the drug candidate.
Trevena CEO Maxine Gowen said, "We are delighted to work with Merck’s scientists to expand their understanding of the signaling pathways of the selected receptor."
Trevena has two novel biased ligand drugs in clinical development. The drugs include TRV027, a biased AT1R ligand currently in Phase 2 studies for the treatment of acute decompensated heart failure, and TRV130 – a biased mu-opioid agonist for acute pain in Phase 1 testing.