Merck & Co collaborates with Ambrx

Will develop biologic drug conjugates using Ambrx protein technology

Merck & Co is forming a partnership with Ambrx, a US-based biopharmaceutical firm, to design and develop biologic drug conjugates based on Ambrx’s protein medicinal chemistry technology.

Merck has agreed to pay the La Jolla, California-based firm US$15m upfront, another $288m in milestone payments and sales royalties on any drugs that might come from the collaboration.

In return, Merck gains worldwide rights to develop and market biotherapeutic drug conjugates directed towards a number of pre-specified targets.

‘Ambrx’s technology has the potential to provide the foundation for a new family of biologic drug conjugates that selectively deliver small molecules to their site of action,’ said Peter Schultz, scientific founder and board member of Ambrx.

‘Merck’s deep disease area expertise made it the partner of choice in expanding the application of this technology beyond oncology to other important disease areas.’