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Merck has acquired Calporta Therapeutics, Inc., a San Diego biotech focused on developing drugs that support lysosome function, which could combat diseases (including Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease) linked to the toxic buildup of certain protein molecules.

The deal is worth $576 million, which includes both upfront and contingent milestone payments. This will give Merck access to preclinical TRPML1 agonists that are seen as potential treatments. 

Calporta was founded in 2015 at COI Pharmaceuticals, a start-up incubator launched as a collaboration between GlaxoSmithKline and Avalon Ventures. Today, Calporta is one of more than a dozen startups developing drugs that alter autophagy, the process of cellular self-renewal. 

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