Merck signs cancer deal with Belgian biotech that could rise to €1.7B.

|By:, SA News Editor

Merck (MRK) has signed an agreement with Belgian biotech Ablynx (ABLYF) to develop cancer immunotherapies in a deal that could eventually be worth €1.7B plus royalties on the sales of any products.

Merck will pay an initial sum of €20M and up to €10.7M in R&D financing during an initial three-year period. The U.S. company will then make payments based on the achievement of development, regulatory and commercial milestones.

Ablynx will work on discovering antibody-derived proteins, known as nanobodies, that can activate the immune system to attack cancer cells.

The agreement adds to a neurology partnership that Merck and Ablynx began in 2012.