Ablynx extends ion channel research collaboration with Merck & Co


Merck & Co will fund the research until 30 September next year

Belgian biopharmaceutical company Ablynx has extended its initial two-year research collaboration with Merck & Co, to develop and commercialise Nanobody candidates directed towards an undisclosed voltage gated ion channel.

Merck & Co will extend its funding of the research collaboration to the end of September 2016. This collaboration was announced in October 2012 and included a €6.5m upfront payment and €2m in initial research funding.

Merck and Ablynx have a separate cancer immuno-therapy collaboration, announced in February 2014, which includes a €20m upfront payment, €10.7m in research funding and total potential milestone payments of up to €1.7bn plus royalties.

Commenting on the latest announcement, Dr Edwin Moses, CEO of Ablynx, said the company had made encouraging progress in the discovery of Nanobodies against this 'very challenging target' and the extension will potentially allow it to build on this.

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As part of its hybrid model of developing its own assets and partnering some programmes, Ablynx has research and development collaborations with many pharmaceutical companies including AbbVie, Boehringer Ingelheim, Eddingpharm, Merck & Co, Merck Serono and Novartis, involving more than 20 active therapeutic programmes which have already generated more than €340m for the company.