ABLYNX and Merck Serono expand their partnership into osteoarthritis

GHENT, Belgium - Ablynx [Euronext Brussels: ABLX] today announced that it has further expanded its relationship with Merck Serono, a division of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, and entered into a third agreement to co-discover and co-develop Nanobodies® against two targets in osteoarthritis. The companies will exploit the unique Nanobody features and will develop multi-specific products, which have extended half-lives.

Under the terms of the agreement, Ablynx will receive an upfront payment of €20 million payable in two tranches over the next three months and will be fully responsible for all activities and costs for each programme, excluding manufacturing costs and costs relating to certain in vivo models, up to the delivery of the pre-clinical package that will form the basis of an Investigational New Drug (IND) filing or IND equivalent filing. Ablynx is entitled to receive a further €15 million for each programme if the pre-clinical packages are accepted by Merck Serono. At that point, Ablynx has the option to continue with Merck Serono on a 50:50 co-development basis and share the resulting profits, or to convert this collaboration into an exclusive, worldwide licensing deal with milestone payments and tiered royalties.

In September 2008, Merck Serono and Ablynx entered into an agreement to co-discover and co-develop Nanobodies against two disease targets in oncology and immunology. In October 2010, the companies entered into a second agreement to co-discover and co-develop Nanobodies against an inflammatory disease target. 

About Ablynx

Ablynx (Euronext: ABLX) 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 and life-threatening human diseases, including inflammation, thrombosis, oncology and pulmonary disease. Today, the Company has over 25 projects in the pipeline and there are seven Nanobodies in clinical development. Ablynx has ongoing research collaborations and significant partnerships with major pharmaceutical companies, including Boehringer Ingelheim, Merck Serono, and Novartis. The Company is headquartered in Ghent, Belgium and currently employs over 280 people. More information can be found on www.ablynx.com.