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NewLink CFO: 'Ebola Vaccine Highly Unlikely To Drive Future Profit In Company'

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NewLink CFO: 'Ebola Vaccine Highly Unlikely To Drive Future Profit In Company'

Earlier this morning, the New York Times highlighted an Ebola vaccine that was shown to be 100 percent effective in protecting against the disease. The Ebola vaccine, otherwise known as rVSV-ZEBOV, is currently licensed by Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE: MRK). Although not yet approved, the New York Times reported the vaccine is so effective that an emergency stockpile of 300,000 doses has been ordered.

In 2014, NewLink Genetics Corp (NASDAQ: NLNK) agreed to a licensing and collaboration with Merck for rVSV-ZEBOV, that provided an upfront payment of $30 million, along with $20 million upon start of rVSV-ZEBOV GP in a trial arm. In addition to these payments, NewLink negotiated for royalties based on Merck's potential commercial sales. The money was useful in helping develop many of the biologic and small-molecule immunotherapy product candidates they provide today.

As for how this may affect the company moving forward, NewLink Genetics chief financial officer told Benzinga, “There are no further milestone payments [from Merck] to be had [on rVSV-ZEBOV].”

He continued, “The Ebola vaccine is highly unlikely to drive future profit.”

Despite this, NewLink's CFO stated that the company is “very proud of their role” as an active participant in bringing the Ebola vaccine into the market with Merck.

 

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