Merck Serono and MSM Protein Technologies Establish Drug Discovery Collaboration

July 30, 2009

MSM Protein Technologies (MSM) announced today it has entered into a drug discovery collaboration with Merck Serono, a division of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, to create antibody based products targeted to G-protein coupled receptors (GPCRs) and other possible targets in the cell membrane. MSM will provide its proprietary technology and expertise to display selected targets in their native form and work with Merck Serono's scientists to apply these in various drug discovery platforms.

Under the terms of the agreement, MSM will receive an upfront payment and is eligible to receive further payments on achievement of development and commercial milestones, as well as royalties on sales of potential products resulting from the collaboration. Financial details of this agreement were not disclosed.

Davis Farmer, MSM's Chairman, said, "We are very pleased to announce our new collaboration with Merck Serono. The terms build considerable value into MSM and offer further validation of our leadership position in the field of antibody drug discovery for complex cell surface receptors."

Dr. Tajib Mirzabekov, MSM's Chief Executive Officer, said, "We are very excited about this relationship because it encompasses such a powerful array of technical expertise. Merck Serono has excellent scientists in this space and we will be working shoulder to shoulder with them to identify monoclonal antibodies against very difficult and very valuable targets. Merck Serono is a first class research organization with a great network of outside collaborators in the antibody field and we are excited to be included in that group."

About MSM Protein Technologies:
MSM is closely held drug discovery company based in Boston, MA. MSM is the leader in the display of multi-spanning membrane proteins for antibody drug discovery. The company applies its proprietary SIMPL (TM) platform and magnetic proteoliposome particles (MPLs) to display multi-spanners such as GPCRs in highly concentrated and purified form while retaining their native conformation and orientation thereby maximizing the probability of raising functional antibodies. MSM has demonstrated the ability to raise functional human antibodies against a number of GPCRs and other membrane proteins.

MSM was formed in 2005 on the basis of technology originally developed at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute by the company's founding scientist and subsequently licensed to MSM. Since then the Company has developed additional, novel technologies that provide greater power and sensitivity to the search for antibody drugs to multi-spanners.

For more information: .

About Membrane spanning proteins
A membrane spanning protein is an integral membrane protein that spans from the internal to the external surface of the biological membrane or lipid bilayer in which it is embedded. These proteins are expressed on a number of cell types, including on the surface of bacteria and viruses. Multi-spanning membrane proteins are proteins that span a membrane a number of times. They are the most important class of cell-surface targets for therapeutic intervention and represent the majority of the targets for drugs sold on today's market. Many well validated multi-spanning membrane proteins have not yet been successfully targeted with drugs. Still others may be best targeted with an antibody scaffold with superior results to small molecule drugs.

About G-protein Coupled Receptors
A G-protein is an intracellular membrane-associated protein, responsible for activating a signaling cascade that triggers intracellular events or alters the behavior of other target proteins. G-protein coupled receptors are cell surface receptors that are coupled to G-proteins. GPCRs comprise the biggest family of human protein targets for therapeutic drugs and one of the most difficult, accounting for roughly 25% of drug sales world wide.

About Ion channels and transporters
Ion channels are proteins forming a water-filled pore through a membrane through which ions can diffuse. Transporters are proteins that span a membrane that actively carry nutrients and ions across the membrane. Many small molecule drugs targeting ion channels lack the desirable level of target specificity due to a high degree of homogeneity within the pores formed by ion channels. Antibodies hold the promise of greater selectivity because they are more amino acid specific than small molecule drugs.

SOURCE: MSM Protein Technologies


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