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Merck Encycles through Canada

The first disclosed grant under Merck & Co. Inc.'s Canadian translational initiative will bolster the ability of macrocycle-based Encycle Therapeutics Inc. to conduct lead optimization of its integrin α4b7 inhibitors for inflammatory bowel disease.

Last year, Merck launched the initiative with a C$4 million ($3.5 million) fund to support-and give a first look at-research from early stage companies and academic institutes across the country.

The announced deal will help finance a joint team from Encycle and the Institute for Research in Immunology and Cancer (IRIC) to perform medicinal chemistry and preclinical efficacy studies. IRIC is a translational unit housed at the University of Montreal.

Encycle is a spinout from the University of Toronto founded in 2012 to solve the primary challenges of macrocycle drugs-poor cell penetration

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