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GEN News Highlights : Feb 24, 2009

Merck Serono Gains Rights to Ambrx' Preclinical MS Therapy

Deal has option for companies to share profits or losses in the U.S.

Ambrx will collaborate with Merck Serono to develop ARX424, its preclinical product for the treatment of multiple sclerosis. Merck Serono will gain exclusive, worldwide development and commercialization rights for the drug in return for an up-front fee and an equity investment.

"While we are operating from a strong cash position, we felt it appropriate that Merck Serono make an equity commitment as part of this transaction to further strengthen and align our interests going forward," says Stephen Kaldor, Ph.D., Ambrx president and CEO.

Ambrx will also receive clinical, regulatory, and commercial milestone payments as well as royalties on worldwide sales. Ambrx retains the option to switch to a profit-and-loss sharing arrangement in the U.S. If this option is exercised, the companies will also share global development expenses and U.S. commercialization costs.

This is the second collaboration between the two companies. In June 2007 the companies joined forces to develop ARX201, Ambrx' human growth hormone product. ARX201 was in Phase II trials at the time of signing and is still in mid-stage investigation.