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Merck KGaA and Auxogyn Collaborate

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Merck KGaA’s (MKGAF) biopharmaceutical division, Merck Serono, entered into an exclusive license agreement with Auxogyn, Inc., for the Early Embryo Viability Assessment (Eeva) test.

The Eeva test may improve IVF (in vitro fertilization) patient outcomes when used adjunctively to traditional morphology by providing IVF clinicians with objective information on embryo viability.

Merck Serono will receive exclusive commercialization rights from Auxogyn for the Eeva test in Europe and Canada. It also has an option to take the test to selected countries and regions.

In 2012, Auxogyn received the CE mark for the Eeva System and it is currently available for use in Canada and some countries in the EU. Auxogyn retains commercialization rights for the test in the U.S. Auxogyn’s Eeva System is under review with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (:FDA).

Auxogyn and Merck KGaA’s association dates back to 2010, when Merck Serono invested in Auxogyn through a preferred stock financing. Then, in 2012, both parties entered into a strategic partnership on the Eeva test.

This agreement will bring together Auxogyn’s innovative test and Merck Serono’s commercial expertise. Merck KGaA has been quite active on the agreement and licensing front. Recent deals include an agreement with Pfizer Inc. (PFE) and the Broad Institute in Cambridge, MA. The alliance will focus on the genomic profiling of systemic lupus erythematosus and lupus nephritis patients. Merck Serono and Pfizer will jointly fund this project.

Merck KGaA carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Investors looking for better-ranked stocks in the medical sector may consider companies like Forest Laboratories Inc. (FRX) and Lannett Co., Inc. (LCI). Forest Labs carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) while Lannett has a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).

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