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Ablynx announces second extension of its ion channel research collaboration with Merck & Co inc.

Ablynx announced a second extension of its research collaboration with a subsidiary of Merck & Co., Inc., Kenilworth, NJ, USA, known as MSD outside the United States and Canada, to develop and commercialise Nanobody® candidates directed towards an undisclosed voltage gated ion channel.

The extension agreement will trigger a €1 million milestone payment to Ablynx, and Merck will extend their funding of the research collaboration at Ablynx to September 2018.

The ion channel collaboration was announced in October 2012 and included a €6.5 million upfront payment and €2 million in initial research funding. In March 2015, the Company announced a first extension of the research term to September 2016.

Dr Edwin Moses, CEO of Ablynx, commented: "We are pleased that Merck will, for the second time, extend the research term of our current ion channel collaboration. This decision is based on the very encouraging progress we made in the discovery of Nanobodies against this challenging target and builds on the competitive advantage of our proprietary Nanobody platform in the generation of innovative therapeutic candidates against target classes that have proven difficult to address with conventional antibody technologies."

About the ion channel collaboration between Ablynx and Merck & Co., Inc.

In October 2012, Ablynx and a subsidiary of Merck & Co, Inc. entered into a collaboration to develop and commercialise Nanobody candidates directed towards a voltage gated ion channel, with the option to develop and commercialise a Nanobody to a second target. Under the terms of the agreement, Merck gains exclusive global rights to Nanobodies against the selected target, with an option for similar rights to a second target. Upon signing, Merck paid Ablynx a €6.5 million upfront payment. In addition, Ablynx is eligible to receive research funding (extended now twice) and up to €448 million in research, regulatory and commercial milestone payments associated with the progress of multiple candidates, as well as tiered royalties on any products derived from the collaboration. Ablynx is responsible for the discovery of Nanobody candidates and Merck is responsible for the research, development, manufacturing and commercialisation of any Nanobody product resulting from the collaboration.

About Ablynx

Ablynx is a biopharmaceutical company engaged in the development of Nanobodies®, proprietary therapeutic proteins based on single-domain antibody fragments, which combine the advantages of conventional antibody drugs with some of the features of small-molecule drugs. Ablynx is dedicated to creating new medicines which will make a real difference to society. Today, the Company has more than 45 proprietary and partnered programmes in development in various therapeutic areas including inflammation, haematology, immuno-oncology, oncology and respiratory disease. The Company has collaborations with multiple pharmaceutical companies including AbbVie, Boehringer Ingelheim, Eddingpharm, Genzyme, Merck & Co., Inc., Merck KGaA, Novartis, Novo Nordisk and Taisho Pharmaceuticals. The Company is headquartered in Ghent, Belgium.