Merck Partners with Bionomics to Treat Chronic Pain and 2 Other Dow Movers to Watch

Merck & Co. Inc. (NYSE:MRK): Current price $48.38

On Wednesday, Bionomics announced an accord with Merck to discover and develop novel small molecule candidates for the treatment of chronic pain, including neuropathic pain. Through the terms, Merck will have the option to exclusively license a compound from Bionomics for the purpose of development and commercialization. For its part, Bionomics may obtain option exercise fees, and development and regulatory milestone payments of as much as $172 million. The firm may also be eligible for undisclosed royalties on net sales of products from the arrangement. Beyond that, Bionomics retains the right to develop and commercialize certain compounds for which Merck does not exercise its option. The initial length of the research program is two years.

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JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE:JPM): Current price $55.57

A prosecutor’s document in Italy says that agents who are looking into Monte dei Paschi’s 2007 purchase of a smaller competitor are investigating the investment bank JPMorgan, concerning an alleged crime committed by one of its employees. The document, reviewed by Reuters, indicated that the alleged crime was the obstruction of Italian regulators by an unknown JPMorgan employee connected with a $1.3 billion hybrid financial instrument, which was used to partially fund Monte dei Paschi’s acquisition of Antonveneta. JPMorgan has denied any wrongdoing, and said that it will defend itself vigorously, remarking in an emailed statement, ”We believe that JPMorgan and its employees acted correctly at all times.”

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Alcoa Inc. (NYSE:AA): Current price $7.96

Alcoa has announced that effective September 1, Libby Archell will become vice president of corporate affairs. Archell will report to Alcoa Chairman and Chief Executive Klaus Kleinfeld, and will become a member of Alcoa’s Executive Council, with responsibility for communications activities that affect Alcoa’s reputation, relationships with the media, and employee engagement. Archell succeeds Nick Ashooh, who is resigning from Alcoa to pursue another opportunity.

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