Darmstadt, Germany, November 2, 2016 – 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.
Lead Author
Abstract ID
Presentation Date / Time
Session Type/Title
Late-Breaking Poster Presentation
Efficacy and safety of atacicept in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus: results of a 24-week randomized, placebo-controlled, phase IIb studyDr. Joan.T Merrill, Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation, Oklahoma City, OK, USA

Abstract ID: 12L
Sunday, November 13, 9:00 - 11:00 AM

Presentation Time: Tuesday, November 15, 9:00 - 11:00 AM ET
Late-breaking Abstract Session/ Late-Breaking Poster Session
Poster Presentation
Atacicept: Integrated Safety Profile from Phase II Randomized Placebo-Controlled Studies in Autoimmune Diseases Dr. Patricia Fraser,
EMD Serono, Billerica, MA, USA
Abstract ID: 764
Sunday, November 13, 9:00 - 11:00 AM Poster Session A/ Systemic Lupus Erythematosus – Clinical Aspects and Treatment - 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 our 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. 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 Lupus
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.