04.10.2012 - Belgian Ablynx secures €8.5m upfront from Merck Inc. for the development of Nanobodies against two targets, one of them yet unknown.
Camelidae antibody developer Ablynx NV (Ghent) has inked a collaboration with US pharma major Merck & Co. Inc (MSD). The companies collaborate primarily to develop and commercialise Nanobody® candidates directed towards a certain voltage-gated ion channel. Merck also acquired the option to do the same for a second, as yet unknown, target. The deal includes a €6.5m upfront payment and another €2m compensation for research funding. With successfully passed regulatory and commercial milestones in addition to secured royalties, Ablynx will be eligible to receive up to €448 million in total. While Ablynx is in charge of the discovery of the Nanobodies, Merck gains the exclusive global rights to market them and is responsible for research, development, manufacturing and commercialisation of any Nanobody® product resulting from the collaboration.
After Ablynx showed the proof-of-principle in 2011, things are going well for the company despite the withdrawal of US pharma giant Pfizer almost a year ago. Edwin Moses, Chairman and CEO of Ablynx commented on the new deal: "We are delighted to initiate this collaboration with Merck in the area of ion channels, where to date, monoclonal antibodies have demonstrated little success. Due to the formatting flexibility of Nanobodies, we are able to combine antibody-like selectivity and multi-specificity in one molecule, making them ideal candidates for ion channel modulators." Nanobodies® are a novel class of therapeutic proteins based on single-domain, heavy-chain antibody fragments. They link conventional monoclonal antibody advantages like high specificity with the benefits of small molecule drugs like low sensitivity to temperature and pH changes. So far, Ablynx has approximately 25 programmes in the pipeline, and seven Nanobodies at clinical development stage, including partnerships with pharma and biotech companies like Boehringer Ingelheim (cancer, Alzheimer’s), former Merck Serono (osteoarthritis), Novartis, and Merck & Co.
12.02.2016 The promise of the microbiome as the basis of new treatments has caught the attention of many. Now, UK biotherapeutics maker 4D pharma plc has padded its microbiome pipeline with the acquisition of Irish Tucana Health.
05.02.2016 It is not yet clear why a man died during a first-in-man clinical trial in January. A preliminary report found several “major shortcomings” by responsible CRO Biotrial. However, all regulations were complied with.
04.02.2016 After having dodged multiple takeover attempts by Monsanto last year, agrobusiness giant Syngenta has now agreed to be acquired by chemical corporation ChemChina. The Swiss company also announced plans to go public within a few years.
01.02.2016 Altering human DNA with the efficient gene editing method CRISPR/Cas9, especially germline modifications, was long considered a taboo. Now, however, UK scientists have received official approval to tinker with embryo DNA.
27.01.2016 Three UK universities have teamed up with three pharma companies to create the Apollo Therapeutics Fund. With the tech transfer fund, the consortium aims to develop scientific research into medicines.
25.01.2016 Affimed means to put a promising drug combination to the test. With support from MSD, the German biopharma will carry out clinical trials for an immunotherapy combining treatments of both companies.
21.01.2016 Stop squandering antibiotics and make research profitable again: at the World Economic Forum in Swiss Davos, 83 pharmaceutical companies have called for a unified approach towards the threat of antimicrobial resistance.