Sixth Merck Serono Spin-off Company to Focus on Gastrointestinal Immunological Disorders

Sixth Merck Serono Spin-off Company to Focus on Gastrointestinal Immunological

  PR Newswire

  GENEVA, March 4, 2013

GENEVA, March 4, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --

  *Newly formed Calypso Biotech will continue research and development of
    preclinical antibody programs from Merck Serono

Merck Serono, a division of Merck, Darmstadt, Germany, announced today the
creation of Calypso Biotech, the sixth spin-off company resulting from its
Entrepreneur Partnership Program (EPP). Calypso Biotech was formed around
Merck Serono's R&D portfolio in the field of inflammatory bowel diseases,
targeting selected niche indications with high unmet medical needs. Merck
Serono will invest €2.5 million as seed funding. Merck Serono Ventures will
manage the investment and will be represented on the company's board of

"We are pleased that Calypso Biotech will continue promising programs in
inflammatory bowel diseases, while Merck Serono focuses its R&D efforts in
other therapeutic areas," said Dr Bernhard Kirschbaum, Executive Vice
President, Head of Global Research and Early Development at Merck Serono.
"Calypso Biotech has the portfolio, the expertise and the scientific network
to build a unique translational medicine approach and to become a partner of
choice in this therapeutic area."

Calypso Biotech will start with three Merck Serono employees. The company is
founded by Drs. Yolande Chvatchko and Alain Vicari, two seasoned immunologists
with strong experience in team management and drug discovery expertise.

"Despite the efficacy of current treatments such as anti-TNF therapies, many
patients suffering from inflammatory bowel diseases are experiencing dreadful
and sometimes life-threatening complications. In addition, recent changes in
our dietary habits have modified the relationships between our immune system
and gut microbiota to an extent that we are just beginning to understand,
leading to severe pathologies with no treatment options," said Dr. Yolande
Chvatchko, co-founder of Calypso Biotech.

"Our portfolio of promising and differentiated therapeutic antibody candidates
against validated mechanisms underlying disease progression in several
gastrointestinal diseases may be able to address these pathologies which are
insufficiently treated by current therapies," added Dr. Alain Vicari,
co-founder of Calypso Biotech.

Calypso Biotech is the sixth spin-off company to benefit from Merck Serono's
EPP program, an initiative launched in April 2012 following Merck's
announcement to close Merck Serono's headquarters in Geneva. To date, the EPP
has enabled 41 former employees to find new employment, through the creation
of spin-offs and service companies: Prexton Therapeutics (Parkinson's
disease), Quartz Bio (bioinformatics), Asceneuron (Alzheimer's disease), TQM
Insight (Information Technology governance), Ondaco (Information Technology
Services), and Calypso Biotech (gastrointestinal immunological disorders).

About Merck Serono

Merck Serono is the biopharmaceutical division of Merck KGaA. With
headquarters in Darmstadt, Germany, Merck Serono offers leading brands in 150
countries to help patients with cancer, multiple sclerosis, infertility,
endocrine and metabolic disorders as well as cardiovascular diseases. In the
United States and Canada, EMD Serono operates as a separately incorporated
subsidiary of Merck Serono.

Merck Serono discovers, develops, manufactures and markets prescription
medicines of both chemical and biological origin in specialist indications. We
have an enduring commitment to deliver novel therapies in our core focus areas
of oncology, neurology and immunology.

About Merck

Merck is a global pharmaceutical and chemical company with total revenues of
€10.3 billion in 2011, a history that began in 1668, and a future shaped by
approx. 40,000 employees in 67 countries. Its success is characterized by
innovations from entrepreneurial employees. Merck's operating activities come
under the umbrella of Merck KGaA, in which the Merck family holds an
approximately 70% interest and free shareholders own the remaining
approximately 30%. In 1917 the U.S. subsidiary Merck & Co. was expropriated
and has been an independent company ever since.

For more information, please visit or

Merck Serono S.A. - Geneva Merck Serono is a
division of Merck. 9 Chemin des Mines 1202 Genève Suisse Media relations Tel:
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