Transaction links Merck’s innovative and global bioprocessing business with ProMetic’s advanced technology
DARMSTADT, GERMANY AND MONTREAL, CANADA, April 9, 2001 – Merck KGaA and ProMetic Life Sciences Inc. today announced that they have formed a strategic alliance to jointly market their expertise in the purification of monoclonal antibodies. The alliance demonstrates Merck’s commitment to the important and fast-growing antibody-purification market and its confidence in ProMetic’s proprietary Mimetic Ligand™ technology.
The alliance builds on Merck’s leading position in the biopurification market, which is based on its advanced tentacle-type bioprocessing Fractogel® media, and ProMetic’s strong technology position and capabilities in the international monoclonal antibody purification market. The joint effort also facilitates ProMetic’s continued expansion into the North American and European markets.
Monoclonal antibodies recognize and bind to specific antigens, such as proteins, that are associated with various disorders and diseases. They are used in the diagnosis and treatment of several forms of cancer, inflammatory and auto-immune diseases. These antibodies represent one of the fastest growing sectors of the biotech industry and are expected to command sales in excess of US$3 billion in the USA by 2002. The bioprocessing portion of this market has a current estimated value of US$200 million per year and is also expected to grow rapidly over the next couple of years.
Under terms of the agreement, ProMetic will provide the alliance with its leading-edge Mimetic Ligand™ technology that is used in large-scale purification of therapeutic proteins including monoclonal antibodies. Merck will provide advanced ion exchange polymeric bioprocessing media products, such as its patented Fractogel® media, for biopurification and technical support. In addition, Merck will contribute its established international sales force and distribution network.
The alliance will offer monoclonal antibody manufacturing companies the combined expertise and capabilities of Merck and ProMetic – an integrated, one-stop solution for monoclonal antibody purification and optimal value in terms of process design, process cost, efficiency and service compared with currently available options.
“This collaboration provides all of our customers with a superior and fully integrated solution for monoclonal antibody purification while reducing manufacturing costs for these important disease fighters,” said Bernd Reckmann, head of Merck’s Scientific Laboratory Products business, one of the leading global suppliers of bioprocessing media.
“The value of this deal is substantial for both companies because the combined product offerings complement each party’s core competencies and strengthen their respective market positions,” said Pierre Laurin, CEO of ProMetic. “Our company is now positioned to move ahead with strategic plans to participate more aggressively in the fast-growing monoclonal antibodies market without having to invest and build the corporate infrastructure that would otherwise be required.”
ProMetic Life Sciences Inc (TSE: PLI), with headquarters in Montreal, Quebec, and additional facilities in the UK, owns proprietary enabling technology essential for use in therapeutics, large-scale drug purification, chemical genomics and proteomics, drug delivery and drug development. This existing technology can dramatically lower costs, increase yield, and improve efficacy of existing and new bio-pharmaceutical products. ProMetic accomplishes this through strategic partnerships and in-house therapeutic development.
Headquartered in Darmstadt/Germany, the Merck Group generates annual sales of EUR 6,7 billion in the fields of Pharmaceuticals, Specialty Chemicals, Lab Products and Lab Distribution. Founded in 1668, the Merck Group is represented today by more than 200 operating companies in 52 countries and employs 33,500 people worldwide. The company groups its operating activities under Merck KGaA, in which E. Merck, as a general partner, holds the Merck family’s 74 percent equity interest in Merck KGaA. The Merck Group strongly believes that promotion of its employees’ self-initiative and self-responsibility, application-oriented research and development and close customer relationships in the markets are the keys to long-term corporate success.
This press release contains forward-looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties, including, but not limited to the Company’s ability to develop, manufacture, and successfully commercialize value-added pharmaceutical products and to obtain contracts for its products and services and commercial acceptance of advanced affinity separation technology. Shareholders are cautioned that these statements are predictions and these actual events or results may differ materially from those anticipated in these forward-looking statements.
Contacts: ProMetic Worldwide