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Merck Serono/Affectis agree P2X7 deal

Affectis Pharmaceutical and Merck Serono have signed a deal for the development and commercialisation of oral compounds targeting P2X7 receptors

Affectis Pharmaceutical, based in Munich, Germany, has signed a licensing agreement with Merck Serono for the development and commercialisation of oral compounds targeting P2X7 receptors.

P2X7 is an ATP-gated ion channel receptor that 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.

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

Dr Michael Boes, chief scientist officer of Affectis, said: "Affectis' chemistry expertise puts special emphasis on brain penetration, which supports our development of oral P2X7 antagonists for the potential treatment of central nervous system diseases."

8th June 2011

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