Affectis Pharmaceuticals and Merck Serono Announce an Agreement to Develop Oral Drugs for Neurodegenerative Diseases

Merck Serono to develop compounds from Affectis targeting P2X7 receptors

10-Jun-2011 - Germany

Affectis Pharmaceuticals AG announced that an exclusive licensing agreement was signed with Merck Serono, a division of Merck KGaA, for the development and commercialization of oral compounds targeting P2X7 receptors. These receptors are believed to be involved in neuroinflammation observed in some neurodegenerative diseases.

Under the terms of the agreement, Merck Serono will have worldwide exclusive rights to develop and commercialize selected compounds. The contract also includes a research collaboration focusing on P2X7 antagonist optimization. Affectis will receive EUR 2.4 million in upfront payment and research funding, and could receive up to EUR 277 million in milestones for the first three products to come out of the collaboration, as well as undisclosed royalties.

P2X7 is an ATP-gated ion channel receptor which is essential for the maturation and release of the pro-inflammatory cytokines. P2X7 is found on brain cells, which are activated by high levels of ATP in conditions of neuroinflammation.

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