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Ablynx Enters Alliance With Merck & Co., Inc. (MRK) Worth Up to $578 Million


10/2/2012 7:36:21 AM

GHENT, BELGIUM--(Marketwire - October 02, 2012) - Ablynx [Euronext Brussels: ABLX] today announced a collaboration with Merck & Co., Inc., through a subsidiary, to develop and commercialise Nanobody® candidates directed towards a voltage gated ion channel with the option to develop and commercialise a Nanobody to a second target. Merck is known as MSD outside the United States and Canada.

Under the terms of the agreement, Merck gains exclusive global rights to Nanobodies against the selected target, with an option for similar rights to a second target. Upon signing, Merck will pay Ablynx a EUR6.5 million upfront payment and a EUR2 million fee for research funding. In addition, Ablynx will be eligible to receive up to EUR448 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. Ablynx will be responsible for the discovery of Nanobody candidates and Merck will be responsible for the research, development, manufacturing and commercialisation of any Nanobody product resulting from the collaboration.

Dr Edwin Moses, Chairman and CEO of Ablynx said:

"We are delighted to initiate this collaboration with Merck in the area of ion channels where to date monoclonal antibodies have demonstrated little success. Due to the formatting flexibility of Nanobodies, we are able to combine antibody-like selectivity and multi-specificity in one molecule, making them ideal candidates for ion channel modulators. This agreement reflects the potential power of the Nanobody platform and the considerable success we have had to date with seven Nanobody programmes at the clinical development stage."

"We are excited to be working with Ablynx to evaluate the potential of the Nanobody technology directed towards this challenging ion channel target," said Richard Hargreaves, Ph.D., Vice President and Head of Neuroscience Discovery Research at Merck.

About Ablynx' expertise in ion channels

Ablynx has already demonstrated modulation of ion channel activity in electrophysiology assays and has identified functional Nanobodies against both voltage-gated and ligand-gated ion channels. Nanobodies can be generated to have either an agonistic (enhancing) or antagonistic (blocking) effect.

About ion channels

The physiological importance of ion channels is underlined by their involvement in a wide range of conditions including neurological disorders, hypertension, diabetes, cancer and arrhythmia. Ion channels represent highly valuable therapeutic targets which are currently modulated by a range of small molecule drugs. In 2011, sales of the top 20 best-selling ion channel drugs amounted nearly $14 billion.[1] Today, there are no approved antibody-based drugs that target ion channels.

-------------------------------------------------

[1] MedTrack

About Ablynx

Ablynx is a biopharmaceutical company engaged in the discovery and development of Nanobodies®, a novel class of therapeutic proteins based on single-domain antibody fragments, for a range of serious human diseases, including inflammation, haematology, oncology and pulmonary disease. Today, the Company has approximately 25 programmes in the pipeline and seven Nanobodies at clinical development stage. Ablynx has ongoing research collaborations and significant partnerships with major pharmaceutical companies, including Boehringer Ingelheim, Merck Serono, Novartis, and Merck & Co. The Company is headquartered in Ghent, Belgium. More information can be found on www.ablynx.com.

Press release in pdf: http://hugin.info/137912/R/1645432/530133.pdf

This announcement is distributed by Thomson Reuters on behalf of Thomson Reuters clients. The owner of this announcement warrants that:

(i) the releases contained herein are protected by copyright and other applicable laws; and

(ii) they are solely responsible for the content, accuracy and originality of the information contained therein.

Source: Ablynx via Thomson Reuters ONE

[HUG#1645432]


For more information, please contact

Ablynx:
Dr Edwin Moses
Chairman and CEO
t: +32 (0)9 262 00 07
m: +44 (0)7771 954 193 /
+32 (0)473 39 50 68
e: Email Contact

Marieke Vermeersch
Associate Director Investor Relations
t: +32 (0)9 262 00 82
m: +32 (0)479 49 06 03
e: Email Contact
Follow us on Twitter @AblynxABLX

M:Communications:
Mary-Jane Elliott
Amber Bielecka
Claire Dickinson
t: +44 207 920 2330
e: Email Contact



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