Healthcare Industry News:  Alzheimer's 

Devices Biopharmaceuticals Neurology

 News Release - December 4, 2006

Merck and Neuroptix Collaborate on Early Alzheimer's Diagnostics Using Laser Eye Scanning

Global pharmaceutical leader to work with pioneer in non-invasive ocular scanning diagnostics to detect AD before symptoms manifest, and track and monitor preclinical and clinical disease progression and treatment

ACTON, Mass. & WHITEHOUSE STATION, N.J.--(HSMN NewsFeed)--Neuroptix Corporation and Merck & Co., Inc. today announced that they have established a research collaboration wherein Merck will evaluate Neuroptix's diagnostic technology in preclinical models of Alzheimer's disease and clinical trial monitoring of potential new Alzheimer's drugs.

Neuroptix will provide Merck with access to its Neuroptix(TM) QEL laser eye scanning device, which in preclinical studies in mice, has detected Alzheimer's-related amyloid protein aggregates in the lens of the eye. The amyloid protein aggregates are a surrogate biomarker of beta amyloid in the brain.

Under the agreement, Neuroptix will receive an upfront payment, annual technology access fees and payments based on the achievement of development milestones. Neuroptix will also receive payments for instruments, diagnostic agents, and services. Merck receives a non-exclusive license to use Neuroptix's technology for preclinical and clinical research purposes.

"We are pleased to be collaborating with Neuroptix in this potentially groundbreaking work on Alzheimer's diagnostics," said Merv Turner, Ph.D., senior vice president of Worldwide Licensing and External Research at Merck. "We are hopeful that the activities under the agreement will demonstrate the potential of this novel, non-invasive technology for measuring beta amyloid, a biomarker of Alzheimer's disease."

"Merck is a leader in the development of novel treatments for unmet medical needs, which makes it an ideal partner to help create predictive diagnostic protocols that fully explore the potential of Neuroptix's technology," said Paul Hartung, president and CEO of Neuroptix. "Our goal is to help bring the QEL system closer to becoming a fast, inexpensive and reliable screening test for Alzheimer's that can be easily administered in a general practitioner's office, with accurate results. We look forward to working with Merck to make progress toward achieving that goal."

About Neuroptix Corporation

Founded in 2001, Neuroptix develops, manufactures and distributes state-of-the-art products for extremely sensitive measurements of biophysical changes in the eye, including non-invasive instruments for diagnosis and monitoring Alzheimer's disease undergoing clinical development. Adaptable and innovative, Neuroptix's products are designed for a variety of research environments including academic and pharmaceutical laboratories. Neuroptix is also developing diagnostic agents for application in screening tests for Alzheimer's disease and prion diseases. For more information, contact or visit the web site at

About Merck & Co., Inc.

Merck & Co., Inc. is a global research-driven pharmaceutical company dedicated to putting patients first. Established in 1891, Merck currently discovers, develops, manufactures and markets vaccines and medicines to address unmet medical needs. The Company devotes extensive efforts to increase access to medicines through far-reaching programs that not only donate Merck medicines, but help deliver them to the people who need them. Merck also publishes unbiased health information as a not-for-profit service. For more information, visit

Merck Forward-Looking Statement

This press release contains "forward-looking statements" as that term is defined in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These statements are based on management's current expectations and involve risks and uncertainties, which may cause results to differ materially from those set forth in the statements. The forward-looking statements may include statements regarding product development, product potential or financial performance. No forward-looking statement can be guaranteed, and actual results may differ materially from those projected. Merck undertakes no obligation to publicly update any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future events, or otherwise. Forward-looking statements in this press release should be evaluated together with the many uncertainties that affect Merck's business, particularly those mentioned in the cautionary statements in Item 1 of Merck's Form 10-K for the year ended Dec. 31, 2005, and in its periodic reports on Form 10-Q and Form 8-K, which the company incorporates by reference.

Source: Merck

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