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Home Industry News Merck announces licensing agreement with Apitope

Merck announces licensing agreement with Apitope

14th January 2009

Merck has announced a licensing agreement with Bristol-based Apitope Technology.

As a result of the collaboration, Merck has been granted exclusive rights by its partner to develop and commercialise ATX-MS-1467 – a peptide therapeutic designed to bring on immunological tolerance of the body’s T-cells.

The treatment has already completed an initial clinical study in patients suffering from multiple sclerosis (MS).

Bernhard Kirschbaum, executive vice-president of research and development at Merck Serono, said the partnership would “strengthen” its position as a leader in the field of innovative research and development of the disease.

He added the peptide therapeutic represents a “novel, targeted approach”, with the potential to complement existing drugs already used for treatment of the condition.

“By applying our existing stratified medicine approaches, we will also identify those MS patients who should benefit most from this potential treatment,” Mr Kirschbaum went on to say.

Under the terms of the agreement, Merck’s Serono division will be responsible for development activities and, following a 154 million euro (140 million pounds) upfront payment, will also provide further funding to its partner.

The company currently employs 32,000 people in over 61 countries and reported revenues of 7.1 billion euros in 2007.

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