Atacicept is a potential treatment for systemic lupus erythematosus. 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.
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 300,000 patients in the US alone. Women and individuals with African, Asian, and Hispanic heritage are affected disproportionately by SLE.
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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 € 12.85 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" name and brand. The only exceptions are the United States and Canada, where the company operates as EMD Serono, MilliporeSigma and EMD Performance Materials.