Utrecht, The Netherlands, 8th April 2015 – Merus B.V., a leader in developing best-in-class bispecific antibody therapeutics, announced today that it has reached a preclinical milestone in a bispecific antibody research and license collaboration with ONO PHARMACEUTICAL CO., LTD. (Osaka, Japan, ”ONO”) triggering a payment. The milestone is for achieving preclinical proof-of-mechanism with a lead bispecific antibody directed against a target combination relevant in the treatment of autoimmune disease.
“By reaching this milestone, Merus continues to demonstrate the power of its Biclonics® platform in rapidly generating lead product candidates that combine unprecedented functional activities with attractive developability and manufacturing attributes,” said Mark Throsby, Chief Scientific Officer of Merus. “As a result of close collaboration with ONO, a lead bispecific antibody satisfying the product definition for further development has been identified. We are excited by its potential to improve the lives of patients suffering from autoimmune disease.”
“We are proud to have ONO as a partner in developing this innovative therapeutic,” said Ton Logtenberg, Chief Executive Officer of Merus. “ONO selects collaborators based on the specific science and technology necessary for a project and it is rewarding for Merus that we have successfully met their high standards.”
About Merus B.V.
Merus is a Dutch biotechnology company developing cancer therapeutics based on human bispecific antibodies. Merus’ bispecific antibodies (Biclonics®) have the robust and proven full-length IgG format, they are manufactured using industry standard processes and have predictable in vivo behavior such as long half-life and low immunogenicity. Merus is applying its proprietary technologies to build a broad immune-oncology pipeline. Most advanced is MCLA-128, an ADCC enhanced bispecific antibody that targets HER2 and HER3 in solid tumors and is currently in Phase I/II clinical testing. MCLA-117 is a T cell engager bispecific antibody in IND enabling studies that targets a novel tumor-associated antigen for the treatment of acute myeloid leukemia and myelodysplastic syndrome. Following are multiple preclinical programs combining checkpoint inhibitors and/or co-stimulatory molecules for tumor immunomodulation as well as cancer stem cell targeting therapeutics. Please visit www.merus.nl to learn more.