Merck KGaA, Ono sign agreement for oral MS, cancer drugs

Merck KGaA gets rights to investigative MS therapy

DARMSTADT, Germany — German drug maker Merck KGaA will collaborate with Japanese drug maker Ono Pharmaceutical to develop oral therapies for cancer and multiple sclerosis, Merck KGaA said.

The Merck Serono division of Merck KGaA, a separate company from U.S.-based Merck that operates as EMD in the United States and Canada, signed an agreement with Ono that gives it worldwide exclusive rights for development and commercialization of the MS drug ONO-4641 outside of Japan, Korea and Taiwan. Another license agreement gives Ono  Japanese co-development and marketing rights to Stimuvax, an investigative cancer immunotherapy that stimulates the body's immune system to target cancer cells.

"Merck Serono is committed to building on our leadership franchise in multiple sclerosis, and we are excited about adding a potential oral treatment, ONO-4641, to our pipeline," Merck KGaA executive board member and Merck Serono division head Stefan Oschmann said. "We also believe that Ono will bring a wealth of experience in developing innovative therapies and understanding regulatory requirements in Japan."

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