Merck advances R&D strategy through unique development model with Avillion for Anti IL-17 A/F Nanobody

MerckMerck, a leading science and technology company, today announced a development agreement with Avillion, a UK-based company focused on increasing R&D output through innovative models, for anti IL-17 A/F Nanobody®. Merck's Anti IL-17 A/F Nanobody® is an investigational therapy which has completed Phase I development, and is expected to begin Phase II in plaque psoriasis in 2017. In a collaboration model that is recently emerging in the biopharma industry, Avillion, which is amongst the pioneers of such models, will be responsible for developing anti IL-17 A/F Nanobody® from Phase II through Phase III. Avillion will also finance the clinical program through to regulatory submission. The agreement reflects Merck’s strategy to identify collaborations that progress highly promising clinical stage assets through novel innovation models.

"The collaboration announced today with Avillion will allow us to optimally deliver on the potential of IL-17, a compound which could address several areas of unmet need for patients today," said Belén Garijo, member of the Executive Board of Merck and CEO Healthcare. "In parallel, we have several highly promising priority clinical assets in our pipeline, all of which we must continue to drive in-house. By partnering appropriately, not only can we maintain the internal focus on our R&D innovation strategy, but also maximize other opportunities that emerge from our pipeline."

Anti IL-17 A/F Nanobody® is an investigational therapy that has the potential to treat inflammatory diseases. Due to the small size and unique structure of Nanobodies®, they could be an ideal building block for a new generation of novel biological drugs.

"We are delighted to embark on this new clinical development project with Merck and its innovative nanobody candidate," said Allison Jeynes-Ellis, MD, Chief Executive Officer of Avillion. "This agreement is a further endorsement of our innovative business model. We are very encouraged that our collaborative approach to advancing the development of clinical candidates and boosting our partners’ R&D productivity is gaining such awareness in the biopharma industry."

Merck acquired full, exclusive rights to anti IL-17 A/F Nanobody® through a global development and commercialization license from Ablynx in 2013.

Both Merck and Avillion agreed to not disclose the terms of the deal.

About Anti IL-17 A/F Nanobody®
Anti IL-17 A/F Nanobody® is an investigational bi-specific half-life extended nanobody that is thought to neutralise both IL-17A and IL-17F with the potential to treat inflammatory diseases.

About Avillion
Avillion LLP is a drug development company with an innovative business model focusing on the clinical co-development and regulatory approval of late stage pharmaceutical products. Avillion offers a compelling opportunity to partner late-stage therapeutic projects for approval in the US and EU and to accelerate their availability to the market. Our objective is to enable our partners to continue to develop the drug candidates in their pipeline at the highest quality without increasing the burden on their P&L or cash reserves. Avillion can achieve this by incurring 100% of the clinical and regulatory risk, while advancing the development of these late-stage assets in return for milestone payments on the commercialisation of successfully developed products.

Avillion was founded in 2012 in London, UK, and is backed by Abingworth, Clarus Ventures and Royalty Pharma.

About Merck
Merck is a leading science and technology company in healthcare, life science and performance materials. Around 50,000 employees work to further develop technologies that improve and enhance life - from biopharmaceutical therapies to treat cancer or multiple sclerosis, cutting-edge systems for scientific research and production, to liquid crystals for smartphones and LCD televisions. In 2016, Merck generated sales of € 15.0 billion in 66 countries.

Founded in 1668, Merck is the world's oldest pharmaceutical and chemical company. The founding family remains the majority owner of the publicly listed corporate group. Merck, Darmstadt, Germany holds the global rights to the Merck name and brand. The only exceptions are the United States and Canada, where the company operates as EMD Serono, MilliporeSigma and EMD Performance Materials.

Most Popular Now

Cannabis extract helps reset brain function in psy…

Research from King's College London has found that a single dose of the cannabis extract cannabidiol can help reduce brain function abnormalities seen in people with psyc...

New cancer treatment uses enzymes to boost immune …

Researchers at The University of Texas at Austin have developed a new approach to treating cancer using enzyme therapy. The enzyme, PEG-KYNase, does not directly kill can...

Bayer accelerates six new startups

Changing the experience of health: that's the focus of the six startups which the Bayer G4A team has included in the Accelerator program this year. The young companies fr...

Novartis receives European Commission approval of …

Novartis today announced that the European Commission (EC) has approved Kymriah® (tisagenlecleucel, formerly CTL019). The approved indications are for the treatment of pe...

Antioxidant reduces risk for second heart attack, …

Doctors have long known that in the months after a heart attack or stroke, patients are more likely to have another attack or stroke. Now, a paper in the Journal of the A...

Shire completes sale of oncology franchise

Shire plc (LSE: SHP, NASDAQ: SHPG) announces today that it has completed the sale of its Oncology franchise to Servier S.A.S. for $2.4 billion. The franchise includes the...

Novartis to divest the Sandoz US dermatology busin…

Novartis today announced it has agreed to sell selected portions of its Sandoz US portfolio, specifically the Sandoz US dermatology business and generic US oral solids po...

Tezepelumab granted Breakthrough Therapy Designati…

AstraZeneca and its partner Amgen Inc. (Amgen) today announced that the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted Breakthrough Therapy Designation for tezepelumab...

New tablet production facility in Ingelheim: Cente…

Boehringer Ingelheim held a groundbreaking ceremony for the construction of a new production facility for innovative drugs. This new Solids Launch facility will focus on ...

Pfizer terminates domagrozumab (PF-06252616) clini…

Pfizer Inc. (NYSE: PFE) announced that it is terminating two ongoing clinical studies evaluating domagrozumab (PF-06252616) for the treatment of Duchenne muscular dystrop...

Pfizer and Astellas amend clinical research protoc…

Pfizer Inc. (NYSE:PFE) and Astellas Pharma Inc. (TSE:4503, President and CEO: Kenji Yasukawa, Ph.D., "Astellas") announced amendments to the protocols for two registratio...

Study links widely-used drug azathioprine to skin …

A drug used to treat inflammatory bowel disease, arthritis and vasculitis as well as to prevent organ rejection in transplant patients has been identified as an important...