Ablynx significantly expands its immuno-oncology collaboration with Merck & Co., inc

05:03 EDT 22 Jul 2015 | Instinctif Partners

  • Builds on the original immuno-oncology collaboration started in 2014, significantly expanding the size and scope of the deal to include up to 12 additional Nanobody programmes
  • Expanded deal includes new targets and target combinations directed against immune checkpoint modulators
  • Exploits ability of Ablynx’s unique Nanobody® platform to flexibly and rapidly discover and develop multi-specific therapeutics

GHENT, Belgium - 22 July 2015 - Ablynx [Euronext Brussels: ABLX; OTC: ABYLY] today announced an expansion of its immuno-oncology collaboration with a subsidiary of Merck & Co., Inc. (“Merck”) [known as MSD outside the United States and Canada], to address an increased number of immune checkpoint modulator targets.

The original collaboration announced in February 2014 focused on the discovery and development of five pre-defined Nanobody candidates (including multi-specific Nanobody combinations) directed towards immune checkpoint modulator targets for evaluation as immunotherapies for cancer.

As part of this expansion of the 2014 agreement, Ablynx will be responsible for the discovery and development of up to 12 additional Nanobody programmes against individual protein targets and target combinations (mono-specific and multi-specific Nanobodies) through to the in vivo pre-clinical proof-of-concept stage, after which Merck will have the option to advance specified lead candidates.
Under the terms of this four year expansion, Ablynx will receive a €13 million upfront payment comprising exclusivity fees and FTE payments as well as  further research funding over the term of the collaboration. In addition, Ablynx will be eligible to receive additional exclusivity fees, depending on the number of programmes for which Merck decides to exercise its licensing option, plus development, regulatory and commercial milestone payments of up to €340 million per programme, as well as tiered royalties on annual net sales upon commercialisation of any Nanobody products. Merck will be responsible for clinical development, manufacturing and commercialisation of any products resulting from the collaboration.

Commenting on the announcement, Dr Edwin Moses, CEO of Ablynx, said: “This significant expansion of our collaboration with Merck after less than 18 months underlines the promise offered by our Nanobody platform in the discovery of unique new therapeutic agents. The speed and flexibility of the platform and its ability to develop multi-specific candidates against target combinations is a very powerful characteristic of the Nanobody technology. We are pleased that Merck, one of the leaders in this emerging field, has expanded its collaboration with us and we look forward to continuing our collaboration in the development of these innovative immuno-oncology drug candidates which could potentially transform the treatment of many cancers.”

“Immuno-oncology remains a key area of focus for Merck,” said Dr Joseph Miletich, Senior Vice President Discovery Research and Development, Merck Research Laboratories. “The expansion of this ongoing collaboration with Ablynx allows us to increase our ability to evaluate the potential of more immune checkpoint targets for the treatment of cancer.”

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 so-called immune checkpoint modulators.

Under the terms of the original agreement, Ablynx received an upfront payment of €20 million and is entitled to up to €10.7 million in research funding during the initial three year research term of the collaboration. In addition, Ablynx is eligible to receive development, regulatory and commercial milestone payments on achieved sales thresholds for a number of products with ultimate potential to accrue as much as €1.7 billion plus tiered royalties. Merck will be responsible for the development, manufacturing and commercialisation of any products resulting from the collaboration.

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.

About Ablynx

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. The Company is headquartered in Ghent, Belgium. More information can be found on

Issued for and on behalf of Ablynx by Instinctif Partners.


Certain statements, beliefs and opinions in this press release are forward-looking, which reflect the Company or, as appropriate, the Company directors’ current expectations and projections about future events. By their nature, forward-looking statements involve a number of risks, uncertainties and assumptions that could cause actual results or events to differ materially from those expressed or implied by the forward-looking statements. These risks, uncertainties and assumptions could adversely affect the outcome and financial effects of the plans and events described herein. A multitude of factors including, but not limited to, changes in demand, competition and technology, can cause actual events, performance or results to differ significantly from any anticipated development. Forward looking statements contained in this press release regarding past trends or activities should not be taken as a representation that such trends or activities will continue in the future. As a result, the Company expressly disclaims any obligation or undertaking to release any update or revisions to any forward-looking statements in this press release as a result of any change in expectations or any change in events, conditions, assumptions or circumstances on which these forward-looking statements are based. Neither the Company nor its advisers or representatives nor any of its parent or subsidiary undertakings or any such person’s officers or employees guarantees that the assumptions underlying such forward-looking statements are free from errors nor does either accept any responsibility for the future accuracy of the forward-looking statements contained in this press release or the actual occurrence of the forecasted developments. You should not place undue reliance on forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date of this press release.

For more information please contact: Ablynx: Dr Edwin Moses CEO t: +32 (0)9 262 00 07 m: +32 (0)473 39 50 68 e: Ablynx media relations: Instinctif Partners Sue Charles, Daniel Gooch International/English language t: +44 (0)20 7866 7905 e: Marieke Vermeersch Associate Director Investor Relations t: +32 (0)9 262 00 82 m: +32 (0)479 49 06 03 e: @AblynxABLX Jim Rusagara Belgium/Dutch and French language t: +32 (0)2 626 9500 e: NEXT ARTICLE

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