Ablynx Collaborates With Merck to Develop Therapeutic Nanobody Candidates
GHENT, Belgium, 2 October 2012 - Ablynx [Euronext Brussels: ABLX] today announced a collaboration with Merck & Co., Inc., through a subsidiary, to develop and commercialise Nanobody® candidates directed towards a voltage gated ion channel with the option to develop and commercialise a Nanobody to a second target. Merck is known as MSD outside the United States and Canada.
Under the terms of the agreement, Merck gains exclusive global rights to Nanobodies against the selected target, with an option for similar rights to a second target. Upon signing, Merck will pay Ablynx a €6.5 million upfront payment and a €2 million fee for research funding. In addition, Ablynx will be eligible to receive up to €448 million in research, regulatory and commercial milestone payments associated with the progress of multiple candidates as well as tiered royalties on any products derived from the collaboration. Ablynx will be responsible for the discovery of Nanobody candidates and Merck will be responsible for the research, development, manufacturing and commercialisation of any Nanobody product resulting from the collaboration.
Dr Edwin Moses, Chairman and CEO of Ablynx said:
“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. This agreement reflects the potential power of the Nanobody platform and the considerable success we have had to date with seven Nanobody programmes at the clinical development stage.”
“We are excited to be working with Ablynx to evaluate the potential of the Nanobody technology directed towards this challenging ion channel target," said Richard Hargreaves, Ph.D., Vice President and Head of Neuroscience Discovery Research at Merck.
About Ablynx’ expertise in ion channels
Ablynx has already demonstrated modulation of ion channel activity in electrophysiology assays and has identified functional Nanobodies against both voltage-gated and ligand-gated ion channels. Nanobodies can be generated to have either an agonistic (enhancing) or antagonistic (blocking) effect.
About ion channels
The physiological importance of ion channels is underlined by their involvement in a wide range of conditions including neurological disorders, hypertension, diabetes, cancer and arrhythmia. Ion channels
represent highly valuable therapeutic targets which are currently modulated by a range of small molecule drugs. In 2011, sales of the top 20 best-selling ion channel drugs amounted nearly $14 billion.1 Today, there are no approved antibody-based drugs that target ion channels.
About Ablynx Ablynx is a biopharmaceutical company engaged in the discovery and development of Nanobodies®, a novel class of therapeutic proteins based on single-domain antibody fragments, for a range of serious human diseases, including inflammation, haematology, oncology and pulmonary disease. Today, the Company has approximately 25 programmes in the pipeline and seven Nanobodies at clinical development stage. Ablynx has ongoing research collaborations and significant partnerships with major pharmaceutical companies, including Boehringer Ingelheim, Merck Serono, Novartis, and Merck & Co. The Company is headquartered in Ghent, Belgium. More information can be found on www.ablynx.com.
For more information, please contact
Dr Edwin Moses
Chairman and CEO
t: +32 (0)9 262 00 07
m: +44 (0)7771 954 193 / +32 (0)473 39 50 68
Associate Director Investor Relations
t: +32 (0)9 262 00 82
m: +32 (0)479 49 06 03
Mary-Jane Elliott, Amber Bielecka, Claire Dickinson
t: +44 207 920 2330
Certain statements, beliefs and opinions in this press release are forward-looking, which reflect the Company’s or, as appropriate, the Company’s directors’ current expectations and projections about future events. By their nature, forward-looking statements involve a number of risks, uncertainties and assumptions that could cause actual results or events to differ materially from those expressed or implied by the forward-looking statements. These risks, uncertainties and assumptions could adversely affect the outcome and financial effects of the plans and events described herein. A multitude of factors including, but not limited to, changes in demand, competition and technology, can cause actual events, performance or results to differ significantly from any anticipated development. Forward looking statements contained in this press release regarding past trends or activities should not be taken as a representation that such trends or activities will continue in the future. As a result, the Company expressly disclaims any obligation or undertaking to release any update or revisions to any forward-looking statements in this press release as a result of any change in expectations or any change in events, conditions, assumptions or circumstances on which these forward-looking statements are based. Neither the Company nor its advisers or representatives nor any of its or their parent or subsidiary undertakings or any such person’s officers or employees guarantees that the assumptions underlying such forward-looking statements are free from errors nor does either accept any responsibility for the future accuracy of the forward-looking statements contained in this press release or the actual occurrence of the forecasted developments. You should not place undue reliance on forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date of this press release.
Posted: October 2012