Merck Serono, a division of Merck, Darmstadt, Germany, and The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research, announced today that they will collaborate to develop antibodies for the treatment of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). Under the terms of the agreement, Merck Serono will fund a research program at the Manhasset, NY-based Feinstein Institute and be responsible for the development and commercialization of the antibodies resulting from the collaboration. The program will focus on the use of antibodies to inhibit the action of certain proteins responsible for inflammation in the pathogenesis of SLE.
"There is a very high unmet medical need for novel therapies to treat systemic lupus erythematosus. Over the last fifty years, only one new treatment option has been approved to treat the disease," said Dr Bernhard Kirschbaum, executive vice President, head of global research and early development for Merck Serono. "The Feinstein Institute is at the forefront of translational research in inflammatory and autoimmune diseases and this is a rare opportunity for our researchers to collaborate with key experts in the field of systemic lupus erythematosus to develop alternative therapeutic approaches, and further strengthen our research capabilities in the field of immunology."