Archemix and Merck Serono, a division of Merck KGaA, formed a multiyear strategic alliance to discover, develop, and commercialize aptamer therapeutics with a primary focus on the treatment of cancer. The alliance combines Archemix’ SELEX technology to discover and generate aptamer candidates with Merck’s oncology drug development and commercialization capabilities.
Under the terms of the agreement, Archemix will receive a $29.8 million equity investment from Merck KGaA. Merck KGaA also retains an option, under certain circumstances, to acquire additional Archemix common stock upon an initial public offering.
The collaboration gives Merck Serono the option to obtain product licenses to certain of Archemix’s lead-stage aptamer programs in oncology and the right to select and develop aptamers against six additional targets in oncology and other indications, including autoimmune and inflammation disorders.
In addition, Merck Serono is granted a license to use Archemix’s SELEX technology for internal target validation. Archemix has the option to exercise a co-development and co-promote option on any of the products being developed on a 50-50 cost and profit-sharing basis in the U.S.