Belgium's Ablynx in Merck cancer research tie-up: firm

Belgian biotechnology company Ablynx said on Monday it has signed a cancer research cooperation accord with US pharmaceuticals giant Merck & Co. which could be worth up to 1.7 billion euros ($2.3 billion).

The contract, to identify proteins which may lead to cancer immunotherapy treatments, involves an initial payment of 20 million euros plus 10.7 million euros for the three-year research programme.

Subsequent royalties on sales could lead to payment of 1.7 billion euros, Ablynx said in a statement.

Merck will be responsible for development, manufacture and say of any treatments generated by the research.

Immunotherapy treatments aim to boost the body's own immune response so as to fight .

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