Pharma Focus Asia

Atreca Announces Strategic Research Collaboration with Merck to Identify Novel Antibody Targets in Oncology

Thursday, February 06, 2020

Atreca, Inc., a biotechnology company focused on the development of novel cancer therapeutics generated through a unique discovery platform based on interrogation of the active human immune response, today announced that it has entered into a strategic research collaboration with Merck (known as MSD outside the United States and Canada), to identify the antigenic targets of select antibodies discovered by Atreca with potential utility in oncology.

“We are excited to collaborate with Merck, a global leader in oncology, to identify novel antibody targets that may hold the potential to transform the future treatment of cancer,” said John Orwin, Chief Executive Officer. “To date, our differentiated discovery platform has yielded over 1,600 antibodies that bind selectively to non-autologous tumor tissue. We are pleased Merck has recognized the potential of our differentiated discovery platform to deliver novel antibody-target pairs in oncology and will be working with us to elucidate the antigenic targets of certain antibodies we have generated from active human immune responses, accelerating our drug development efforts. We look forward to a highly productive collaboration.”

The antibodies included in the collaboration agreement will be selected by Atreca based on mutually agreed criteria and other considerations. Under the terms of the agreement, Atreca will receive an upfront cash payment and retain exclusive ownership and rights to develop all Atreca antibodies included in the collaboration with Merck, while Merck will receive a right-of-first-negotiation should Atreca seek to partner or out-license one or more of these antibodies. Following target identification, both companies will have freedom to advance therapeutic candidates against the target(s) identified under the collaboration, with development and commercial milestones payable by either party.

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