Merck & Co doubles up on Ablynx research deal

Cut-down antibody drug developer Ablynx has agreed a second R&D partnership with US Pharma firm Merck & Co. Ablynx will receive €20 million (£17 million) up front, plus up to €10.7 million in research funding over three years. On top of that, milestone payments for any products that emerge from the collaboration could net the Belgian biotech up to €1.7 billion plus royalties.

This collaboration will focus on nanobodies (antibody fragments) directed against cancer, and builds on Merck’s previous collaboration with Ablynx for nanobodies that target voltage-gated ion channels. Ablynx also recently joined forces with Abbvie to develop nanobodies for treating rheumatoid arthritis and systemic lupus erythematosus.

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