NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Shares of Affimed (AFMD - Get Report) are rising by 10.81% to $4.10 on heavy trading volume on Monday afternoon, as the company begins a clinical research collaboration in immuno-oncology with Merck & Co. (MRK).

Affimed is a German clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on discovering and developing cancer immunotherapies.

Under the terms of the agreement, Affimed will fund and conduct a phase 1b clinical trial to investigate the combination of Merck's anti-PD-1 therapy KEYTRUDA with Affimed's propriety drug candidate AFM13 for the treatment of patients with Hodgkin lymphoma whose disease has relapsed or is resistant to chemotherapy.

Hodgkin lymphoma is a type of cancer that begins in white blood cells called lymphocytes, which are part of the immune system.

"The purpose of the study is to establish a dosing regimen for this combination therapy and assess its safety and efficacy," Affimed said in a statement.

The trial is on track to begin in the first half of the year.

About 2.81 million of the company's shares were traded by this afternoon, well above its average of 368,559 shares per day.

Separately, the FDA is expected to approve Merck's first hepatitis C combination therapy on Thursday.

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