Ablynx and Merck Serono have expanded their partnership through a multi-year research alliance that could lead to four discovery and development collaborations. Merck Serono will fund a dedicated discovery group at Ablynx and both partners will select disease targets and develop nanobodies through in vivo proof-of-principle. The group will focus on nanobodies against a number of targets across multiple disease areas, including oncology, immuno-oncology, immunology and neurology.
The alliance will have an initial term of four years, with the option to extend by two and a half years. Merck Serono will provide more than €25 million, including an initial payment of €11.5 million, and will commit to further development of four programs with Ablynx in co-discovery and co-development arrangements. Further terms were not disclosed.
Dr. Edwin Moses, chairman and chief executive officer of Ablynx said, "This is a very exciting expansion of our partnership with Merck Serono, building on the success of our existing collaborations and allowing us to exploit the broad and powerful applicability of our Nanobody platform with a partner with whom we have successfully worked for over five years. The new alliance is an early stage discovery initiative, which allows the companies to rapidly explore the potential of novel targets across a range of therapeutic areas and to determine which programs should be prioritized for later stage development."
"We have established a very trustful and productive partnership with Ablynx and a first compound has entered Phase I at the beginning of 2013," said Dr. Bernhard Kirschbaum, Executive Vice President, Head of Global Research and Early Development at Merck Serono and Member of the Merck Serono Executive Board. "Through our extensive collaboration history with Ablynx, both sides know how to best conceptually design programs to ensure technology fit, differentiation potential and a clear scientific rationale. Our common goal is to develop novel biologics with a high degree of differentiation for high-value therapeutic targets."
Ablynx, Merck Serono Expand R&D Alliance
Published September 26, 2013
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