LONDON - Arix Bioscience plc ('Arix', LSE: ARIX) a global venture capital company focused on investing in and building breakthrough biotech companies, notes that its portfolio company Artios Pharma Limited ('Artios'), a leading DNA Damage Response (DDR) company developing a broad pipeline of precision medicines for the treatment of cancer, and Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany ('Merck KGaA'), a leading science and technology company, today announced a global three-year strategic research collaboration to discover and develop multiple precision oncology drugs.
As part of the agreement, Artios will receive a payment of US$30 million in the form of an upfront and near-term payments. Merck KGaA shall have the right to opt into exclusive development of compounds on up to eight targets. If Merck KGaA chooses to exercise the option, subject to double digit option fees, Artios will be eligible to receive up to US$860 million per target, in addition to up to double digit royalty payments on net sales of each product commercialised by Merck KGaA. Subject to certain conditions, Artios has opt-in rights for joint development and commercialisation with Merck KGaA for the programmes.
Under the terms of the agreement, the companies will leverage Artios' proprietary nuclease targeting discovery platform to jointly identify multiple synthetic lethal targets for precision oncology drug candidates. The collaboration does not include Artios' lead programmes, Pol and ATR inhibitors, for which Artios will retain all rights.
Arix is the largest shareholder in Artios, with a 12.7% ownership stake on a fully diluted basis.
'Artios is a global powerhouse in DDR. Together with Merck KGaA's significant expertise and R&D resources, the collaboration will identify and develop precision oncology medicines targeting nucleases. As early investors and the largest shareholder in Artios, we are proud of the company's success. It is a testament to its leadership team and strategy in developing a unique discovery platform of novel DNA repair nuclease inhibitors and targets, which will bring real impact to cancer patients.'
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About Arix Bioscience plc
Arix Bioscience plc is a global venture capital company focused on investing in and building breakthrough biotech companies around cutting-edge advances in life sciences. We collaborate with exceptional entrepreneurs and provide the capital, expertise and global networks to help accelerate their ideas into important new treatments for patients. As a listed company, we are able to bring this exciting growth phase of our industry to a broader range of investors.
About Artios Pharma Limited
Artios is a leading DNA Damage Response (DDR) company focused on developing first-in-class treatments for cancer. The Company, founded by SV Health Investors in 2016, is led by an experienced scientific and leadership team with proven expertise in DDR drug discovery. It has a unique partnership with Cancer Research UK (CRUK), and collaborations with leading DNA repair researchers worldwide, such as The Institute of Cancer Research (ICR), London, the Netherlands Cancer Institute (NKI) and the National Centre for Biomolecular Research at Masaryk University in the Czech Republic. Artios is building a pipeline of nextgeneration DDR programmes to target hard to treat cancers. It is backed by blue chip investors including: AbbVie Ventures, Andera Partners (formerly EdRIP), Arix Bioscience plc, IP Group plc, LSP, M Ventures, Novartis Venture Fund (NVF), Pfizer Ventures and SV Health Investors. Artios is based at the Babraham Research Campus in Cambridge, UK, with offices in New York City, USA.
About Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany
Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, a leading science and technology company, operates across healthcare, life science and performance materials. Around 57,000 employees work to make a positive difference to millions of people's lives every day by creating more joyful and sustainable ways to live. From advancing gene editing technologies and discovering unique ways to treat the most challenging diseases to enabling the intelligence of devices the company is everywhere. In 2019, Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany generated sales of EUR 16.2 billion in 66 countries. Scientific exploration and responsible entrepreneurship have been key to Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany's technological and scientific advances. This is how Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany has thrived since its founding in 1668. The founding family remains the majority owner of the publicly listed company. Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany holds the global rights to the Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany name and brand. The only exceptions are the United States and Canada, where the business sectors of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany operate as EMD Serono in healthcare, MilliporeSigma in life science, and EMD Performance Materials.