Under the agreement, Opexa will have an option right to co-fund development, under which the Company would participate in economic support for future clinical development of the program in exchange for additional royalty consideration. In addition to retaining all rights outside of MS as well as retaining the ability to commercialize Tcelna (imilecleucel-T) in Japan, Opexa also retains certain manufacturing rights related to the program. Further details of the transaction are included in a Form 8-K that was filed this morning by Opexa with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission.
“Merck Serono is strongly committed to developing innovative drug candidates like Tcelna (imilecleucel-T), a potential first-in-class personalized cell therapy for patients with multiple sclerosis,” said Susan Herbert, Head of Global Business Development and Strategy at Merck Serono. “This agreement illustrates Merck Serono’s commitment to employ creative ways of accessing external innovation to develop potential next generation multiple sclerosis treatments, especially in secondary progressive multiple sclerosis, an area of high unmet need.”
Neil K. Warma, President and Chief Executive Officer of Opexa, commented, “Opexa is pleased to partner with Merck Serono and given Merck Serono’s long-term strategic commitment to, and existing franchise position in the field of multiple sclerosis, we could not ask for a more experienced partner to carry Tcelna (imilecleucel-T) through development and hopefully to the market and to patients. We also are pleased to retain important rights through this transaction, such as certain manufacturing rights, commercialization rights to the Japanese market and a co-funding of development option, as well as rights for all indications outside of MS, all of which are intended to enhance Opexa shareholder value.”
Conference CallThe management of Opexa will host a conference call today, Tuesday, February 5, 2013, at 8:30 a.m. EST to discuss the agreement. To participate in the live conference call, please dial (877) 372-0867 (U.S.) or (253) 237-1170 (International). A live webcast of the call will also be available on the investor relations section of the Company's website, www.opexatherapeutics.com. An online archive of the webcast will be available on Opexa’s website for one year following the call. About Multiple Sclerosis (MS) MS is a chronic, inflammatory condition of the central nervous system and is the most common, non-traumatic, disabling neurological disease in young adults. It is estimated that approximately two million people have MS worldwide.