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June 24, 2014updated 23 Nov 2021 9:18am

Mersana and Merck to develop antibody-drug conjugates

Mersana Therapeutics has signed an agreement with EMD Serono, Merck's biopharmaceutical division, to co-develop next-generation antibody-drug conjugates (ADCs).

By Mekala ShivaramPrasad

Mersana Therapeutics has signed an agreement with EMD Serono, Merck’s biopharmaceutical division, to co-develop next-generation antibody-drug conjugates (ADCs).

Mersana’s Fleximer technology will be used to generate ADCs for multiple undisclosed targets. The two companies will test a variety of ADCs by using Mersana’s platform technologies and several cytotoxic agents as conjugates.

EMD Serono will provide monoclonal antibodies to Mersana. Mersana will generate the Fleximer-ADCs and conduct drug discovery and preclinical development activities.

“We have a long-standing commitment to improving oncology care, and we aim to deliver the best benefit possible to patients.”

EMD Serono will be responsible for clinical development and commercialisation of any products under an exclusive licence from Mersana. Mersana is eligible to receive milestones plus royalties on worldwide net sales of products in addition to an upfront payment.

EMD Serono translational innovation platform oncology head Dr Andree Blaukat said: “We have a long-standing commitment to improving oncology care, and we aim to deliver the best benefit possible to patients.

“Partnering with Mersana allows us to incorporate cutting-edge research and technical excellence to enrich our pipeline.”

ADCs are composed of an antibody linked to cytotoxic drugs, where the antibody specifically targets and delivers the cytotoxic drug to cancer cells, which could lead to higher drug levels at the tumour site.

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