SAN DIEGO, Dec. 18 Ambrx Inc. today announced that it hasentered into a global, strategic collaboration with Merck & Co. Inc. todevelop a novel therapeutic protein with biological properties similar toFibroblast Growth Factor 21 (FGF-21) for the treatment of type 2 diabetes andrelated metabolic disorders such as obesity.
The collaboration utilizes Ambrx's proprietary protein technology,ReCODE(TM), to develop a chemically modified and optimized drug candidatedesigned to have improved therapeutic properties over the native FGF-21protein.
"We are pleased to enter into this agreement with Merck, a world leader inthe metabolic diseases field with a proven track record in the rapiddevelopment and launch of diabetes medicines," said Stephen W. Kaldor, Ph.D.,Ambrx's president and chief executive officer. "We are excited about thepotential of our initial FGF-21 protein drug candidates, as they promiseunique pharmacological efficacy in the treatment of diabetes, a disease oflarge and rapidly increasing prevalence."
"Molecules capable of mimicking the biological properties of the naturalprotein FGF-21 represent promising candidates for the treatment of metabolicdisorders such as type 2 diabetes and obesity," said Luciano Rossetti, M.D.,senior vice president and franchise head, Diabetes/Obesity and CardiovascularFranchises at Merck. "Ambrx has developed several novel preclinical proteintherapeutic candidates designed to provide enhanced therapeutic propertiesthat may complement our portfolio of products for people with metabolicdisorders."
The transaction includes an initial upfront payment in addition tocommitted R&D payments. Ambrx will also be eligible to receive futuremilestone payments associated with research, development and commercializationof a drug candidate resulting from the collaboration along with royalties onnet sales. Ambrx also has the right to exercise an "end of Phase II" profitsharing option. Additional terms of the agreement were not disclosed. It isexpected that this collaboration, in conjunction with three others announcedthis year, will preclude the necessity for Ambrx to raise additional equitycapital for a number of years.
Ambrx Inc. is a biopharmaceutical company focused on the discovery anddevelopment of first-in-class and best-in-class BioSuperior(TM), protein-baseddrugs. Using its technology, the company can overcome the performancelimitations of high-value commercial proteins by improving their efficacy,safety and ease of use. Ambrx's core ReCODE(TM) technology enables theprecise, site-specific substitution of a novel amino acid within a protein.This allows the conjugation of proteins with additional molecules that canserve to modulate their pharmacokinetic profile or biological function.Ambrx's ReCODE(TM) technology is applicable to multiple protein productsacross numerous therapeutic areas. Ambrx has successfully and rapidly appliedits innovative technology platform to advance into the clinic with ARX201, itsfirst proprietary molecule, and is building a broad pipeline of additionalproduct opportunities. For additional information, call 858.875.2400 or visithttp://www.ambrx.com.
SOURCE Ambrx Inc.