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Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, Presents Phase II Data on the Safety and Efficacy of Atacicept at the 2016 ACR/ARHP Annual Meeting


Results from phase II investigations of atacicept in systemic lupus erythematosus (Abstract Numbers: 12L and 764)

DARMSTADT, Germany, November 2, 2016 /PRNewswire/ --

Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, a leading science and technology company, today announced that clinical data on atacicept, an investigational drug for systemic lupus erythematosus, are scheduled to be presented in poster sessions at the 2016 American College of Rheumatology/Association of Rheumatology Health Professionals (ACR/ARHP) Annual Meeting taking place from November 11-16, 2016, in Washington, DC, U.S.

"There is a significant unmet medical need in systemic lupus erythematosus, with limited treatment options currently available for this debilitating disease," said Luciano Rossetti, Head of Global Research & Development for the biopharma business of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany. "The safety and efficacy data that will be presented at ACR/ARHP indicate that atacicept may play an important role as a potential new therapeutic option for patients with lupus. Our goal is to continue to advance innovation across our immunology pipeline that could make a meaningful difference for people living with lupus and other autoimmune diseases."

Notes to Editors  
Accepted Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany-supported abstracts, including a late-breaking poster presentation, are listed below.

                                                       Presentation        Session
    Title                   Lead Author  Abstract ID   Date / Time        Type/Title

    Late-Breaking Poster Presentation
    Efficacy and Safety of  Dr. Joan T.  Abstract ID:  Sunday, November  Late-breaking
    Atacicept in Patients   Merrill,        12L        13, 9:00 - 11:00  Abstract Session/
    with Systemic Lupus     Oklahoma                   AM ET             Late-breaking
    Erythematosus: Results  Medical                    Presentation      Poster Session
    of a 24-Week            Research                   Time: Tuesday,
    Randomized,             Foundation,                November 15,
    Placebo-Controlled,     Oklahoma                   9:00 - 11:00 AM
    Phase IIb Study         City, OK,                  ET

   Poster Presentation

    Atacicept: Integrated   Dr. Patricia  Abstract ID: Sunday, November  Poster Session A/
    Safety Profile from     Fraser,           764      13, 9:00 - 11:00  Systemic Lupus
    Phase II Randomized     EMD Serono,                AM ET             Erythematosus -
    Placebo-Controlled      Billerica,                                   Clinical Aspects
    Studies in Autoimmune   MA, U.S.                                     and Treatment -
    Diseases                                                             Poster Session I:
                                                                         Clinical Trial
                                                                         Design and
                                                                         Current Therapies

For more information about the data to be presented, please review the ACR/ARHP website. Also, visit Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany's booth at this year's Annual Meeting to learn more about the company's commitment to advancing innovation in lupus and other immunological diseases.

About Atacicept
Atacicept is a potential treatment for systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). Atacicept, a recombinant fusion protein, contains the soluble TACI receptor that binds to the cytokines BLyS and APRIL. These cytokines are members of the tumor necrosis factor family that promote B-cell survival and autoantibody production associated with certain autoimmune diseases such as SLE. Atacicept has been shown in animal models to affect several stages of B-cell development and may inhibit the survival of cells responsible for making antibodies. Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, acquired exclusive worldwide development and commercialization rights for atacicept, including in North America, from Zymogenetics in 2008. Atacicept is currently under clinical investigation and not approved for any use in the United States, Canada and Europe.

About Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE)
Lupus is a chronic inflammatory disease, where the immune system attacks the body's own tissues and organs. Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is the most common form of lupus and can result in swollen, painful joints, skin rash, extreme fatigue and kidney damage. Estimates vary widely, but SLE may affect as many as 300,000 patients in the U.S. alone. Women and individuals with African, Asian and Hispanic heritage are affected disproportionately by SLE.

About EMD Serono, Inc.
EMD Serono is the biopharma business of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, in the U.S. and Canada - a leading science and technology company - focused exclusively on specialty care. For more than 40 years, the business has integrated cutting-edge science, innovative products and industry-leading patient support and access programs. EMD Serono has deep expertise in neurology, fertility and endocrinology, as well as a robust pipeline of potential therapies in oncology, immuno-oncology and immunology as R&D focus areas. Today, the business has more than 1,100 employees around the country with commercial, clinical and research operations based in the company's home state of Massachusetts.

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About Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany
Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, is a leading science and technology company in healthcare, life science and performance materials. Around 50,000 employees work to further develop technologies that improve and enhance life - from biopharmaceutical therapies to treat cancer or multiple sclerosis, cutting-edge systems for scientific research and production, to liquid crystals for smartphones and LCD televisions. In 2015, Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, generated sales of € 12.8 billion in 66 countries.

Founded in 1668, Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, is the world's oldest pharmaceutical and chemical company. The founding family remains the majority owner of the publicly listed corporate group. Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, holds the global rights to the Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, name and brand. The only exceptions are the United States and Canada, where the company operates as EMD Serono, MilliporeSigma and EMD Performance Materials.

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SOURCE Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany

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