Merck (NYSE: MRK) announced today that the company had entered into a definitive agreement with Afferent Pharmaceuticals to acquire the privately held company. Afferent Pharmaceuticals is best known for their investigational candidate, AF-219, which works as an antagonist to P2X3. The company’s main research has been associated with attempting to develop molecules, which are capable of selectively blocking P2X3. Their drugs primarily focus on the treatment of specific neurogenic disorders. Meanwhile, Merck has an array of medications within their portfolio.

Amongst some of their products, Merck sells Nasonex, NuvaRing, and Zocor. According to the company’s website, Merck is currently conducting R&D to address an assortment of health problems, including Hepatitis C, Diabetes, Vaccines, and Alzheimer’s. Through the negotiated agreement, Merck will acquire all outstanding stock from Afferent through a subsidiary for a payment of 500 million dollars. Shareholders of Afferent will become eligible for payments of up to an additional 750 million dollars. Closing of the transaction will be delayed by the expiration of the waiting period as set forth by the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act, but the company expects the transaction to close in the 3rd quarter of this year.

Merck has been recognized as a global health care leader for the past 125 years and operates in more than 140 countries. During Thursday’s trading, Merck’s stock (MRK) floated between $56.93 to $57.82. The stock eventually closed at $57.18, which is down .44 from the previous day’s closing price. For additional information regarding the agreement, be sure to check out the company’s press release.

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