Bionomics, a small Australian company trying to develop Kv1.3 inhibitors, signed a development agreement with Merck Serono in June.
Merck Serono and Bionomics Announce Multiple Sclerosis Development and Licensing Agreement
June 19, 2008
- Bionomics and Merck Serono to collaborate to discover and develop novel, oral treatment for MS
- Collaboration based on novel compounds that allow selective inhibition of the immune cells which cause nerve cell damage in patients with MS
Geneva, Switzerland, 19 June 2008 - Merck Serono, a division of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, announced today that a Development and Licensing Agreement with Bionomics (ASX:BNO) was signed, under which Merck Serono would develop new treatments for multiple sclerosis (MS) and other autoimmune conditions based on compounds from Bionomics' Kv1.3 program.
Under the agreement, Bionomics will receive an upfront payment of US$2 million and committed research funding. Merck Serono will fund all development activities, including clinical development. Merck Serono intends to select compounds from Bionomics' pool of compounds, and for each compound selected by Merck Serono Bionomics may receive milestone payments of up to US$47 million, based on successful development and commercialization. In addition, Bionomics will be eligible to receive undisclosed royalties on the net sales of licensed products.
Dr Bernhard Kirschbaum, Executive Vice President Research at Merck Serono, said: "This partnership with Bionomics reflects our long-term commitment to patients with MS as Kv1.3 inhibition represents an innovative approach for the discovery of oral compounds in the field of MS. This R&D collaboration brings together Bionomics' expertise in Kv1.3 biology and Merck Serono's expertise in MS pharmacology in a combination that could speed up progress in the identification of novel drug candidates for the treatment of MS".
"As a world leader and pioneer in treatments for multiple sclerosis, Merck Serono is the ideal partner for Bionomics in this Kv1.3 program," commented Dr Deborah Rathjen, CEO and Managing Director of Bionomics. "The agreement with Merck Serono is an important milestone for our Company. It validates Bionomics' discovery approach, which has brought the program to this stage. We look forward to working with Merck Serono in the next stage to bring innovative treatment options for patients with MS to the clinic".
The compounds discovered by Bionomics, around which the collaboration will focus, target the potassium ion channel Kv1.3. Kv1.3 is a key modulator of the immune system and it is a target found on human immune cells which are associated with nerve cell damage in patients with MS. Inhibitors of Kv1.3 have been shown to inhibit the proliferation of these immune cells, suggesting that they have application in the treatment of MS and potentially other autoimmune conditions, including arthritis.
http://www.bionomics.com.au/page.php?se ... 5&item=318
Some additional information:
http://www.bionomics.com.au/siteFiles/f ... ts_319.pdf