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Merck Serono bags MS licence option

06.02.2013 - Merck Serono has secured an exclusive licence option for Opexa Therapeutics’ autologous T cell-based Multiple Sclerosis therapy imilecleucel-T.

Opexa’s Tcelna (imilecleucel-T) therapy currently is tested in a Phase IIb study on patients with Secondary Progressive MS (SPMS), which is less common than relapsing forms of MS that are targeted by Merck’s blockbuster Rebif® (interferon beta-1a)  In case of market entry and successful commercialisation, the US firm could gain US$225m in total from the option and license agreement.

Under the terms of the contract, Opexa will receive an upfront payment of $5 million for granting an option to Merck Serono for the exclusive license of the Tcelna (imilecleucel-T) programme as a treatment of MS. The option may be exercised prior to, or upon completion of, Opexa’s proof-of-concept trial. If Merck Serono opts for the programme, Opexa is eligible for $25m or $15m upfront depending on fulfilment of certain undisclosed conditions. The Germans, in return, would receive worldwide development and commercial rights in MS, excluding Japan. When exercising the option, Merck Serono would have to pay all clinical development, as well as the cost for regulatory authorisation and marketing of the MS programme. Milestone payments to Opexa could sum up to $195m plus a tiered royalty rate from the high single digits to the mid-teens based on net sales.

Under the agreement, Opexa will have an option right to co-fund development, under which the company would participate in economic support for future clinical development of the programme in exchange for additional royalty consideration. In addition to retaining all rights outside of MS as well as retaining the ability to commercialise imilecleucel-T in Japan, Opexa also retains certain manufacturing rights related to the programme. 

Tcelna (imilecleucel-T) is an autologous T cell therapy. After collection of peripheral blood mononuclear cells, myelin-reactive T-cells (MRTCs) raised against selected peptides from myelin basic protein (MBP), myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein (MOG) and proteolipid protein (PLP) are expanded, irradiated and given back to the patient subcutaneously to trigger a therapeutic immune response.

© eurobiotechnews.eu/tg 

http://www.european-biotechnology-news.com/news/news/2013-01/merck-serono-bags-ms-licence-option.html

FinancingSwitzerlandEU

29.04.2016 Swiss bank Group UBS has raised US$471m (€412m) for the UBS Oncology Impact Fund, which was set up to invest in early-stage cancer treatments. The money raised by the fund, nearly half of which comes from investors in Asia, is the largest amount ever raised for such a cancer investment fund.

Industry reportGermany

27.04.2016 More revenue, more jobs, more financing, more R&D expenditure – all signs point towards sustainable growth in the German biotech sector. These are the results of the most recent company survey 2016, published by biotechnologie.de. The report was once again conducted alongside the biotech standards defined by the organisation for economic cooperation and development (OECD).

Clinical ResearchFrancePortugal

21.04.2016 An expert panel’s final report on the fatal drug trial earlier this year in France states that the death of one of the participants was most likely caused by the drug’s toxicity and not by any violation of the rules.

Immuno-oncologyNetherlandsBelgium

21.04.2016 For up to US$685m (€606m), Dutch ArgenX has outlicensed its human antibody programme ARGX-115 to AbbVie. The pre-clinical immuno-oncology candidate targets a protein believed to contribute to immunosuppressive effects of T-cells.

RegulatorySwitzerlandEU

20.04.2016 The US government is forking out up to US$100m to get Basilea Pharmaceutica’s broad-spectrum antibiotic ceftobiprole on the US market. In the EU, ceftobiprole is already available.

Immuno-oncologyUK

19.04.2016 British drug developer Heptares Therapeutics and mAb maker Kymab Ltd have partnered up in yet another immuno-oncology collaboration. The companies plan to discover antibody meds targeting a superfamily of receptors.

FinancingSwitzerlandFranceEUGermanyDenmark

15.04.2016 Not every company is put off by the current stock market climate. Swiss biopharma company GeNeuro has gone public at Euronext Paris, raising €33m in the process. Others, meanwhile, have to find different ways to raise money.

Event ReviewSwitzerlandBelgiumEU

13.04.2016 Despite political disturbances, 2015 was a good year for the biotech scene in Switzerland. Net sales increased by 5.1% to CHF5,133m and 400 additional people found jobs in the sector. As usual, the new numbers were presented at the annual Swiss Biotech Day – which set new records as well.

FinancingGermanyNetherlandsEU

12.04.2016 German-Dutch life science investment specialist Forbion Capital Partners has raised more than €180m for its venture capital fund Forbion Capital Fund III. Once more the money will primarily go to European start-ups.

Event ReviewGermanyEU

08.04.2016 Do you win by being innovative?, was the question asked at this year’s DIA Euromeeting in Hamburg. In a relaxed and cooperative atmosphere, regulators, physicians and patients had ample opportunity to interact with the healthcare industry.

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