February 7, 2013
Utrecht, The Netherlands — Merus B.V., a biopharmaceutical company focusing on innovative human antibody therapeutics, today announced it has met the second milestone in its option agreement with the Novartis Option Fund (NOF). The achievement triggers an undisclosed milestone payment.
In 2010, Merus had entered into an option agreement with the Novartis Option Fund for an exclusive license to one of Merus’ oncology programs. The deal grants the Novartis Option Fund rights to a product candidate created by the Biclonics™ and Oligoclonics™ technologies of Merus. Merus is potentially entitled to milestone and license payments in excess of $200 million, as well as royalties.
Ton Logtenberg, CEO and founder of Merus, commented: “Reaching this key milestone in our program partnered with NOF underlines the power of our platform to generate antibodies addressing multiple targets simultaneously with high potency and the desired functional activity.”
About Merus B.V.
Merus is a biotechnology company building a pipeline of innovative human bispecific antibodies (BiclonicsTM) and single cell-derived combinations of antibodies (Oligoclonics®) for cancer therapy. Through the use of a common antibody light chain and CH3 heterodimerization technology, these full length IgG antibody therapeutics can be robustly produced at high yields from a single clonal manufacturing cell line using standard approaches. Biclonics™ and Oligoclonics® bind to multiple disease-associated targets such as growth factor receptors expressed by tumor cells. Synergy is achieved by addressing multiple pathways/mechanisms simultaneously, thereby eliminating tumor cells more efficiently and preventing treatment escape.
Merus meets a significant need in the oncology field: the supply of bispecific antibodies and single-cell derived antibody combinations with improved clinical efficacy to address the limited potency of conventional antibodies.
About Novartis Option Fund
The Novartis Option Fund is part of the Novartis Venture Funds. Established in 1996, the Novartis Venture Funds currently manage over US$850 million in committed capital and are invested globally in more than 50 private life sciences companies across therapeutics, vaccines, devices and diagnostics. As a financially driven corporate life science investor, the Novartis Venture Fund invests in those companies which have the potential to lead the next innovation wave in new areas that will be critical to patient care. The Novartis Venture Funds team of ten investment professionals located in Basel, Switzerland and Cambridge, Massachusetts, brings together extensive expertise in the biotech and pharmaceutical industry and venture capital.