GHENT, Belgium, March 26, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Ablynx [Euronext Brussels: ABLX; OTC: ABYLY] today announced an extension of its initial two-year research collaboration with Merck & Co., Inc., known as MSD outside the United States and Canada, to develop and commercialise Nanobody® candidates directed towards an undisclosed voltage gated ion channel.

Merck & Co., Inc. will extend their funding of the research collaboration with Ablynx to the end of September 2016. This ion channel collaboration was announced in October 2012 and included a €6.5 million upfront payment and €2 million in initial research funding.

Merck and Ablynx have a separate collaboration in the field of cancer immuno-therapy, announced in February in 2014, with a €20 million upfront payment, €10.7 million in research funding and total potential milestone payments of up to €1.7 billion plus royalties.

Commenting on the announcement, Dr Edwin Moses, CEO of Ablynx, said:

"We are pleased to extend the research funding for our current ion channel collaboration with Merck. To date, we have made encouraging progress in the discovery of Nanobodies against this very challenging target and the extension will potentially allow us to build on these advances."

As part of its hybrid model of developing its wholly-owned assets and partnering some programmes, Ablynx has research and development collaborations with multiple pharmaceutical companies including AbbVie, Boehringer Ingelheim, Eddingpharm, Merck & Co., Inc., Merck Serono and Novartis involving more than 20 active therapeutic programmes and which have already generated more than €340 million in non-dilutive cash for the Company.

About the ion channel collaboration between Ablynx and Merck & Co., Inc.

In October 2012, Ablynx and a subsidiary of Merck & Co entered into a collaboration 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. 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 paid Ablynx a €6.5 million upfront payment. In addition, Ablynx is eligible to receive 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. Ablynx is responsible for the discovery of Nanobody candidates and Merck is responsible for the research, development, manufacturing and commercialisation of any Nanobody product resulting 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, oncology and respiratory disease. The Company has collaborations with multiple pharmaceutical companies including AbbVie, Boehringer Ingelheim, Eddingpharm, Merck & Co. Inc., Merck Serono and Novartis. The Company is headquartered in Ghent, Belgium. More information can be found on www.ablynx.com.

For more information, please contact
Dr Edwin Moses
t: +32 (0)9 262 00 07
m: +32 (0)473 39 50 68
e: edwin.moses@ablynx.com

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

Ablynx media relations Consilium Strategic Communications:
Mary-Jane Elliott, Jonathan Birt, Amber Bielecka, Lindsey Neville
t: +44 203 709 5700
e: ablynx@consilium-comms.com

pdf format of the press release http://hugin.info/137912/R/1906235/678635.pdf


Source: Ablynx