Merck Serono, Bionomics partner on MS programs

Merck Serono has signed up with Bionomics in a quest to develop new therapies for multiple sclerosis. Bionomics gains $2 million upfront, committed research funds and a partner who will pay up to $47 million for each new program they pursue. The collaboration will target the potassium ion channel Kv1.3, a key modulator of the immune system.

"This partnership with Bionomics reflects our long-term commitment to patients with MS as Kv1.3 inhibition represents an innovative approach for the discovery of oral compounds in the field of MS," said Dr. Bernhard Kirschbaum, executive vice president research at Merck Serono. "This R&D collaboration brings together Bionomics' expertise in Kv1.3 biology and Merck Serono's expertise in MS pharmacology in a combination that could speed up progress in the identification of novel drug candidates for the treatment of MS."

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