Pharma Focus Asia

Y-Trap Enters Collaboration with Merck KGaA,to Develop Novel Antibody-Ligand Traps for Immuno-Oncology

Friday, September 20, 2019

Y-Trap, Inc. has signed a collaboration and license agreement with Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, a leading science and technology company, for the exclusive development of multiple specific antibody-ligand traps for cancer immunotherapy.

The collaboration leverages Y-Trap's proprietary platform of multifunctional antibody-ligand traps for immuno-oncology. The Y-Trap platform exploits combinatorial protein engineering to counteract key determinants of immune dysfunction in the tumor microenvironment. Y-Trap and Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, will collaborate to explore the pharmacology of Y-Trap multifunctional proteins and Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, will be responsible for all development, manufacturing and commercialization activities.

Under the agreement, Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, will provide Y-Trap with an upfront payment in addition to milestone payments and royalties based on the achievement of specific pre-clinical, clinical development, regulatory, and commercial milestones.

"Cancers evolve to counteract and defeat immune surveillance by co-opting and amplifying natural mechanisms of immune suppression," said Atul Bedi, MD, MBA, Co-founder and Chief Scientist of Y-Trap, Inc. "Y-Trap's multifunctional antibody-ligand traps are designed to counteract key determinants of immune tolerance to entrain more effective antitumor immunity. We look forward to dovetailing the respective strengths of Y-Trap and Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, to advance the development of multiple molecules from this platform for cancer immunotherapy."

"We are encouraged by the potential of antibody-ligand traps to target multiple types of advanced cancers that may not be addressed by current treatment options," said Joern-Peter Halle, Head of External Innovation and Head of Translational Innovation Platform Immuno-Oncology at Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany. "Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, has long-standing expertise in the research and development of bi-functional antibodies and proteins and we are looking forward to collaborating with Y-Trap to develop candidates for immuno-oncology from their highly innovative platform."

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