Merck push forward its R&D strategy through agreement with Avillion

| By | Drug Development, R&D
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Merck, 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.

SOURCE: merck
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