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Baltimore-based Cerecor announces deal with Merck

Cerecor Inc., of Baltimore, a development-stage biotechnology company, said it has agreed to acquire potential treatments for Parkinson’s disease and other central nervous system disorders from Merck & Co.

Cerecor has acquired exclusive, worldwide rights to develop, register and commercialize drugs called COMT inhibitors, from New Jersey-based Merck. COMT is an enzyme that breaks down dopamine, and drugs that block COMT have been used to treat Parkinson’s disease.

Cerecor said it’s possible that COMT inhibitors could also be used to treat schizophrenia and addiction. Cerecor said it will review more than 2,000 potential drugs and select some for clinical development.