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Yumanity Therapeutics, a small neuroscience-focused startup co-founded by longtime biotech executive Tony Coles, is pairing up with pharma giant Merck to develop new treatments for two neuro-degenerative diseases, the companies announced Wednesday.

Under the agreement, Merck is licensing two Yumanity research programs with the goal of identifying novel treatments for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS, and frontotemporal lobar dementia, a group of related conditions resulting from the degeneration of brain cells.

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