Merck Serono, Bionomics sign agreement for autoimmune treatments


GENEVA Merck Serono, a division of Merck, has signed a development and licensing agreement with Australia’s Bionomics, whereby Merck Serono will develop treatments for multiple sclerosis and other autoimmune diseases using Bionomics’ Kv1.3 program, Merck Serono announced Wednesday.

Under the agreement, Bionomics will receive an initial payment of $2 million, as well as research funding. Meanwhile, Merck Serono will pay for all development activities. Merck Serono will select from Bionomics’ pool of compounds, paying Bionomics up to $47 million in milestone payments for each compound it selects, depending on successful development and commercialization. Bionomics may also receive royalties for net sales of licensed products, though the amounts of those royalties were not disclosed.

Kv1.3 is a voltage-gated potassium ion channel that regulates cell processes and membrane potential.

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