Ablynx signs €1.7bn cancer deal with Merck & Co

Utilising the Nanobody technology to generate multi-specific drugs

Ablynx has entered into a second cancer research collaboration and licensing agreement with Merck & Co, which could be worth €1.7bn to the Belgian biopharmaceutical firm.

This new agreement is focused on the discovery and development of several predefined Nanobody candidates (including bi- and tri-specifics) directed toward 'immune checkpoint modulators', which are proteins that are believed to provide potential targets for the development of cancer immunotherapies.

Under the terms of the agreement, Ablynx will receive an upfront payment of €20m and up to €10.7m in research funding during the initial three-year term.

Ablynx is also eligible to receive development, regulatory and commercial milestone payments of up to €1.7bn. Merck will be responsible for the development, manufacturing and commercialisation of any products resulting from the collaboration.

Edwin Moses, CEO of Ablynx, said the deal 'demonstrates the potential of our Nanobody platform and how it can be used to discover and develop therapeutics in important areas of unmet medical need'.

'This second agreement builds beyond our ongoing collaboration in neuroscience and is consistent with Merck's focus on developing candidates with the potential to make a meaningful difference in the lives of patients,' added Roger Perlmutter, President of Merck Research Laboratories.

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