Affectis Pharmaceuticals and Merck Serono Announce an Agreement to Develop Oral Drugs for Neurodegenerative Diseases
|| Print ||
|Wednesday, 08 June 2011 09:00 (UTC + 2)|
Merck Serono to develop compounds from Affectis targeting P2X7 receptors
Under the terms of the agreement, Merck Serono will have worldwide exclusive rights to develop and commercialize selected compounds. The contract also includes a research collaboration focusing on P2X7 antagonist optimization. Affectis will receive EUR 2.4 million in upfront payment and research funding, and could receive up to EUR 277 million in milestones for the first three products to come out of the collaboration, as well as undisclosed royalties.
“This agreement validates Affectis’ strategy to focus on small molecules that potentially target the neuroinflammatory aspect of some neurodegenerative diseases. We look forward to collaborating with Merck Serono, an industry leader in the field,” said Dr. Manfred Ruediger, Chief Executive Officer, Affectis Pharmaceuticals.
Dr. Michael Boes, Chief Scientist Officer of Affectis, further commented, “Affectis’ chemistry expertise puts special emphasis on brain penetration, which supports our development of oral P2X7 antagonists for the potential treatment of central nervous system diseases”.
“We are pleased to announce this collaboration with Affectis Pharmaceuticals, a company with robust experience in drug discovery in the central nervous system area,” said Dr. Bernhard Kirschbaum, Executive Vice President for Global Research and Development at Merck Serono. “This partnership with Affectis reflects our long-term commitment to developing innovative treatments for neurodegenerative diseases, where unmet medical need still remains.”
P2X7 is an ATP-gated ion channel receptor which is essential for the maturation and release of the pro-inflammatory cytokines. P2X7 is found on brain cells, which are activated by high levels of ATP in conditions of neuroinflammation.
About Merck Serono
Merck Serono has leading brands serving patients with cancer (Erbitux®, cetuximab), multiple sclerosis (Rebif®, interferon beta-1a), infertility (Gonal-f®, follitropin alfa), endocrine and metabolic disorders (Saizen® and Serostim®, somatropin), (Kuvan®, sapropterin dihydrochloride), (Egrifta™, tesamorelin), as well as cardiometabolic diseases (Glucophage®, metformin), (Concor®, bisoprolol), (Euthyrox®, levothyroxine). Not all products are available in all markets.
With an annual R&D expenditure of over € 1bn, Merck Serono is committed to growing its business in specialist-focused therapeutic areas including neurodegenerative diseases, oncology, fertility and endocrinology, as well as new areas potentially arising out of research and development in rheumatology.
Luc St-Onge, Ph.D.