GHENT, Belgium, 15 October 2015 - Ablynx [Euronext Brussels: ABLX; OTC: ABYLY] today announced that it has achieved pre-clinical proof-of-concept with a Nanobody construct as part of its immuno-oncology collaboration with Merck & Co., Inc. (“Merck”) [known as MSD outside the United States and Canada], triggering a €3.5 million milestone payment to Ablynx. This collaboration with Merck includes the discovery and development of up to 17 Nanobody programmes against individual protein targets and target combinations (mono-specific and multi-specific Nanobodies) for application in immuno-oncology indications.
This Nanobody construct is a selective bi-specific molecule that potently binds to two different immune modulators, proteins believed to be targets for the development of important cancer immunotherapies.
The results from the pre-clinical study in relevant tumour models demonstrated that this bi-specific Nanobody construct potently inhibits tumour growth.
Dr Edwin Moses, CEO of Ablynx, commented:
“Combination therapies are the next generation in immuno-oncology and this is where our Nanobody technology offers major advantages. In particular, the ability to rapidly produce single constructs which can bind to multiple target combinations is a very powerful characteristic of our Nanobody platform. It is a very significant achievement to have already reached our first pre-clinical milestone just 20 months after the start of our collaboration with Merck. We look forward to further advancing programmes within this collaboration to potentially develop drugs which could transform the treatment of many cancers and the lives of patients.”
Notes To Editors
About the immuno-oncology collaboration between Ablynx and Merck & Co., Inc.
In February 2014, Ablynx entered into a research collaboration and licensing agreement with a subsidiary of Merck & Co., Inc. This exclusive collaboration and licensing agreement is focused on the discovery and development of several predefined Nanobody candidates (including bi- and tri-specifics) directed toward immune checkpoint modulators. In July 2015, Ablynx announced an expansion of this immuno-oncology collaboration with Merck & Co., Inc. to address an increased number of immune checkpoint modulator targets. The collaboration now includes up to 17 Nanobody programmes against individual protein targets and target combinations (mono-specific and multi-specific Nanobodies). Ablynx has received €33 million in upfront payments and is eligible to receive research funding plus development, regulatory and commercial milestone payments, as well as tiered royalties on annual net sales upon commercialisation of any Nanobody products.
Merck and Ablynx have a separate collaboration in the field of ion channel drug development, announced in October 2012, with a €6.5 million upfront payment, €2 million research funding and up to €448 million in research, regulatory and commercial milestone payments associated with the progress of multiple candidates as well as tiered royalties on any products derived from the collaboration.
Ablynx is a biopharmaceutical company engaged in the development of Nanobodies®, proprietary therapeutic proteins based on single-domain antibody fragments, which combine the advantages of conventional antibody drugs with some of the features of small-molecule drugs. Ablynx is dedicated to creating new medicines which will make a real difference to society. Today, the Company has more than 30 proprietary and partnered programmes in development in various therapeutic areas including inflammation, haematology, immuno-oncology, oncology and respiratory disease. The Company has collaborations with multiple pharmaceutical companies including AbbVie, Boehringer Ingelheim, Eddingpharm, Genzyme, Merck & Co., Inc., Merck Serono, Novartis and Taisho Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. The Company is headquartered in Ghent, Belgium. More information can be found on www.ablynx.com.
Issued for and on behalf of Ablynx by Instinctif Partners.
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Sue CharlesManaging Partner