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NewLink Genetics and Merck & Co Receives Vaccine Industry Excellence Awards at World Vaccine Congress 2015

- Best Vaccine License -
NewLink Genetics and Merck & Co. Ebola Vaccine Licensing Agreement

- Best Prophylactic Vaccine -
NewLink Genetics and Merck & Co. – rVSV-EBOV for Ebola

AMES, Iowa, April 14, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- NewLink Genetics Corporation (Nasdaq:NLNK), a biopharmaceutical company focused on bringing novel immunotherapeutic medicines to cancer patients globally, announced that the Company and Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) (Kenilworth, NJ), known as MSD outside the United States and Canada, received two Vaccine Industry Excellence (ViE) awards presented during the 15th Annual World Vaccine Congress on April 8 Washington, D.C. The ViE Awards honor the efforts, accomplishments, and positive contributions of companies and individuals in the vaccine industry.

NewLink Genetics and Merck & Co. received top honors in both the "Best Vaccine License" and "Best Prophylactic Vaccine" categories.

The "Best Vaccine License" finalists represented industry business combinations with the greatest potential for success in bringing innovative medicines to the market. In November 2014, NewLink Genetics and Merck Sharp & Dohme Corp., a subsidiary of Merck & Co., Inc., entered into an exclusive worldwide license and collaboration agreement on the investigational rVSV-EBOV (Ebola) vaccine candidate as well as any follow-on products. Under the agreement, Merck obtained an exclusive license to research, develop, manufacture and distribute rVSV-EBOV. The rVSV-EBOV vaccine candidate was originally developed by the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) and licensed by BioProtection Systems, Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of NewLink Genetics.

Under the terms of the license and collaboration agreement, NewLink Genetics received an upfront payment of $30 million from Merck. In February of this year, NewLink Genetics earned a $20 million milestone payment relating to the initiation of a pivotal clinical trial in Africa. NewLink Genetics has the ability to earn royalties on future potential sales of the vaccine, if approved by regulatory agencies in specified countries based on certain economic criteria.

NewLink Genetics and Merck also received the "Best Prophylactic Vaccine" award for NewLink Genetics' investigational rVSV-EBOV vaccine candidate. Vaccines from Sanofi Pasteur, GSK, J&J and Pfizer were among the 6 finalists competing with NewLink Genetics and Merck. Merck & Co., also received the Best Pharma Company award.

"We appreciate the World Vaccine Congress' recognition of NewLink Genetics' leadership and innovation in advancing critical vaccines such as rVSV-EBOV for Ebola and other difficult global infectious diseases," said Charles J. Link, Jr., M.D., Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of NewLink Genetics. "With NewLink Genetics' and Merck's combined expertise and commitment to vaccine development, we see great promise in our ability to deliver novel treatment options for these important global health concerns."

"We are delighted to see our collaboration with NewLink receive this level of recognition from our industry colleagues," said Mark Feinberg, MD, PhD, chief public health and science officer, Merck Vaccines. "These awards also recognize the close working relationship we have established in developing our rVSV-ZEBOV vaccine candidate."

About the ViE Awards

The World Vaccine Congress & Expo, now in its 15th year, is the largest and most comprehensive event in the industry. Covering everything from R&D to manufacturing to corporate development strategies, the Congress hosts the only awards ceremony dedicated to the vaccine industry. The ViE Awards honor individuals, organizations and initiatives, which have made significant contributions over the past 12 months to innovation in the field of vaccines.

About NewLink Genetics Corporation

NewLink Genetics is a biopharmaceutical company focused on discovering, developing and commercializing novel immunotherapeutic products to improve treatment options for patients with cancer. NewLink Genetics' portfolio includes biologic and small molecule immunotherapy product candidates intended to treat a wide range of oncology indications. NewLink Genetics' product candidates are designed to harness multiple components of the immune system to combat cancer without significant incremental toxicity, either as a monotherapy or in combination with other treatment regimens.

Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements

This press release contains forward-looking statements of NewLink Genetics that involve substantial risks and uncertainties. All statements, other than statements of historical facts, contained in this press release are forward-looking statements, within the meaning of The Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. The words "anticipate," "believe," "estimate," "expect," "intend," "may," "plan," "target," "potential," "will," "could," "should," "seek," or the negative of these terms or other similar expressions are intended to identify forward-looking statements, although not all forward-looking statements contain these identifying words. These forward-looking statements include, among others, statements regarding the following: plans to develop our product candidates and any other statements other than statements of historical fact. Actual results or events could differ materially from the plans, intentions and expectations disclosed in the forward-looking statements that NewLink Genetics makes due to a number of important factors, including those risks discussed in "Risk Factors" and elsewhere in NewLink Genetics' Annual Report on Form 10-K for the period ended December 31, 2014, and subsequent filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The forward-looking statements in this press release represent NewLink Genetics' views as of the date of this press release. NewLink Genetics anticipates that subsequent events and developments will cause its views to change. However, while it may elect to update these forward-looking statements at some point in the future, it specifically disclaims any obligation to do so. You should, therefore, not rely on these forward-looking statements as representing NewLink Genetics' views as of any date subsequent to the date of this press release.

CONTACT: Corporate Contact: Jack Henneman Chief Financial Officer, NewLink Genetics 515-598-2561 Investor@linkp.com Investors: Donna LaVoie LaVoieHealthScience 617-374-8800, ext. 107 dlavoie@lavoiehealthscience.com Media: David Connolly LaVoieHealthScience 617-374-8800, ext. 108 dconnolly@lavoiehealthscience.com

Source:NewLink Genetics Corporation