Apitope and Merck Serono Announce Licensing Agreement on Peptide Therapeutics for Multiple Sclerosis
News Jan 14, 2009
Apitope Technology (Bristol) Ltd. has announced the signature of a research, development and commercialization agreement with Merck Serono, a division of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany.
Under this agreement, Apitope has granted exclusive worldwide rights to Merck Serono to develop and commercialize Apitope’s product ATX-MS-1467. This peptide therapeutic has completed an initial clinical study in patients with MS. It is designed to induce immunological tolerance of the body’s T-cells to key autoantigens involved in the pathogenesis of MS.
ATX-MS-1467 is a novel peptide-based therapeutic derived from Apitope’s proprietary technology platform. Under the terms of the agreement, Apitope will receive an upfront payment and will initially be responsible for the further development of ATX-MS-1467, for which Merck Serono will fund the costs.
Merck Serono will be responsible for all development activities from the beginning of Phase II clinical trials. Merck Serono will also provide committed funding to Apitope for research on other novel therapeutic peptides for the treatment of MS.
Under the terms of the agreement, Apitope is eligible to receive up to € 154 million in upfront, development and commercialization milestone payments, in addition to royalties on the net sales of products resulting from the collaboration.
“This partnership with Apitope strengthens our position as a leader in the field of innovative research and development in multiple sclerosis,” said Bernhard Kirschbaum, Executive Vice President Research and Development at Merck Serono.
“ATX-MS-1467 represents a novel, targeted approach and may have the potential to complement existing MS drugs by offering a novel mode of action. By applying our existing stratified medicine approaches, we will also identify those MS patients who should benefit most from this potential treatment.”