Merck Animal Health and XL-protein Partner to Produce Biopharmaceuticals for Animals

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The companies partnered to create more effective biopharmaceuticals through the exploitation of PASylation.

Following a nearly three-year research collaboration between XL-protein and MSD Animal Health (Merck Animal Health in the United States), the companies announced on Feb. 12, 2015 that they have inked a licensing agreement to develop biologics for animals.

All of the product candidates in development have previously been used for human health medications, according to a press release announcing the partnership. Per the terms of the agreement, XL-protein will use its proprietary technology for plasma half-life extension, also known as its PASylation platform, to develop MSD Animal Health targets. MSD Animal Health will retain all of the rights to the drug candidates discovered through the collaboration.

PASylation is a technique used to improve drug efficacy, allowing therapeutic proteins to be administered less frequently at lower doses. The prolonged plasma half-life resulting from PASylation could potentially help therapeutic products better meet clinical demand and could result in the creation of biobetters, according to the company. PASylation is considered a biological alternative to PEGylation, which involves the chemical conjugation of polymer strands to protein molecules.


“This agreement with MSD Animal Health reflects the significant advantages we have seen for our PASylation platform over competing technologies for creating biologic drug candidates with extended half-life and enhanced action, especially with regard to tolerance and biodegradability in treated subjects," said Dr. Arne Skerra, CSO of XL-protein, in a statement.