Aurigene, Merck Serono collaborate on therapeutics for autoimmune disorders

New Delhi: Bangalore-based integrated discovery services company Aurigene Discovery Technologies Limited, announced today that it has entered into discovery collaboration with Merck Serono International S.A (Merck Serono), a global biotechnology leader. Germany's Merck KGaA holds 64.5-per cent stake in Serono.

The two companies have entered into an agreement to identify small molecule drugs for the treatment of autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis, and rheumatoid arthritis.

Under the research agreement Aurigene will receive research funding for the lead generation and optimisation according to a pre-defined research plan, and shall be entitled to milestone payments upon the achievement of certain pre-determined milestones.

Aurigene will utilise its integrated infrastructure for drug discovery, starting from protein expression and purification, all the way through medicinal chemistry and pre-clinical biology and collaborate with Merck Serono to generate an optimised lead ready for IND-enabling studies.

Aurigene will use its particular strength in Structure Based Drug Design as an additional tool to aid the discovery of novel leads. Commenting on the agreement with Merck Serono, CSN Murthy, CEO of Aurigene, said: "We will use Aurigene's rapidly expanding discovery capability, and leverage Merck Serono's experience in this therapeutic area to succeed. We are very pleased to have a partner of Merck Serono's calibre and to have the opportunity to create value for both sides."