Ambrx and Merck Serono Expand Collaboration through Drug Development Alliance
News Feb 26, 2009
Ambrx Inc, and Merck Serono, a division of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, have announced a global strategic collaboration to develop and commercialize Ambrx's ARX424 preclinical product candidate for the treatment of multiple sclerosis. ARX424 was created by Ambrx through the application of its proprietary protein optimization technology, ReCODE™.
This second collaboration between the two companies follows a previous agreement announced in 2007 to develop ARX201, Ambrx's long-acting growth hormone product, currently in Phase II of clinical development.
Under the terms of the agreement, Merck Serono will receive worldwide exclusive development and commercialization rights for ARX424. Merck Serono will make an initial payment to Ambrx, and Ambrx is eligible to receive undisclosed clinical, regulatory and commercial milestone payments based upon the successful development and commercialization of potential products resulting from this collaboration, as well as undisclosed royalties on the associated worldwide net sales.
Ambrx also retains the option to convert its right to receive royalties in the U.S. to a profit and loss sharing option. If the option is exercised, Ambrx and Merck Serono will share global development expenses, US commercialization expenses as well as profit. In addition, Merck Serono will make an undisclosed equity investment in Ambrx. Additional terms of the collaboration were not disclosed.
"This second collaboration with Ambrx not only demonstrates their robust research and development capability, it also strengthens our partnership to deliver innovative products to the market to help improve the quality of life of patients," said Vincent Aurentz, Executive Vice President Portfolio Development at Merck Serono.
"We are pleased to expand our productive relationship with Merck Serono, a company ideally suited to harness the potential of our growth hormone and multiple sclerosis product candidates given their franchises in these areas," said Stephen Kaldor, Ph.D., Ambrx President and Chief Executive Officer. "While we are operating from a strong cash position, we felt it appropriate that Merck Serono make an equity commitment as part of this transaction to further strengthen and align our interests going forward."