Merck Serono and Newron to Broaden Collaboration on New Therapies for Central Nervous System Diseases

By Merck Serono S A, PRNE
Wednesday, March 30, 2011

GENEVA, Switzerland, March 31, 2011 - Merck Serono, a division of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, announced
today that Merck KGaA has entered into an agreement that broadens the scope
of the collaboration with Newron Pharmaceuticals S.p.A. ("Newron"), Milan,
. The two companies are already collaborating on the development of
safinamide in Parkinson's disease.

Under the terms of the agreement, Newron will receive a development
license for two Merck clinical-stage compounds, pruvanserin and sarizotan.
Merck will retain buy-back options for each compound upon completion of proof
of concept trials. Should these options be exercised by Merck, Newron will
have a co-development option. No further financial terms are disclosed.

Pruvanserin and sarizotan are highly selective compounds for specific
serotonin or dopamine receptors and modulate the activity of these
neurotransmitters in the brain. Both compounds exhibit pharmacological
properties and have clinical data that support further evaluation and
development. Newron will assess the potential of these compounds in
additional preclinical experiments prior to initiating proof of concept
studies in central nervous system (CNS) diseases.

"We are very pleased to continue building our relationship with Newron,"
said Dr. Bernhard Kirschbaum, Executive Vice President for Global Research
and Development at Merck Serono. "We believe that this expanded collaboration
will leverage Newron's strong expertise in the early-stage development of
compounds targeting CNS indications."

Dr. Ravi Anand, Newron's Chief Medical Officer, stated: "This agreement
is an excellent opportunity for Newron to expand its development pipeline
with innovative compounds within Newron's field of expertise."

About Merck Serono

Merck Serono is the biopharmaceutical division of Merck KGaA,
Darmstadt, Germany, a global pharmaceutical and chemical company.
Headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland, Merck Serono discovers, develops,
manufactures and markets prescription medicines of both chemical and
biological origin in specialist indications. In the United States and Canada,
EMD Serono operates as a separately incorporated affiliate of Merck Serono.

Merck Serono has leading brands serving patients with cancer (Erbitux(R),
cetuximab), multiple sclerosis (Rebif(R), interferon beta-1a), infertility
(Gonal-f(R), follitropin alfa), endocrine and metabolic disorders (Saizen(R)
and Serostim(R), somatropin), (Kuvan(R), sapropterin dihydrochloride),
(Egrifta(TM), tesamorelin), as well as cardiometabolic diseases
(Glucophage(R), metformin), (Concor(R), bisoprolol), (Euthyrox(R),
levothyroxine). Not all products are available in all markets.

With an annual R&D expenditure of over EUR 1bn, Merck Serono is committed
to growing its business in specialist-focused therapeutic areas including
neurodegenerative diseases, oncology, fertility and endocrinology, as well as
new areas potentially arising out of research and development in

About Merck

Merck is a global pharmaceutical and chemical company with total revenues
of EUR 9.3 billion in 2010, a history that began in 1668, and a future shaped
by more than 40,000 employees in 67 countries. Its success is characterized
by innovations from entrepreneurial employees. Merck's operating activities
come under the umbrella of Merck KGaA, in which the Merck family holds an
approximately 70% interest and free shareholders own the remaining
approximately 30%. In 1917 the U.S. subsidiary Merck & Co. was expropriated
and has been an independent company ever since.

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About Newron Pharmaceuticals

Newron Pharmaceuticals S.p.A. ( is a biopharmaceutical
company focused on novel therapies for diseases of the Central Nervous System
and pain. Phase III trials of safinamide are currently ongoing for the
treatment of Parkinson's disease (PD). As per the agreement signed with
Newron in 2006, Merck Serono, a division of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany,
has exclusive worldwide rights to develop, manufacture and commercialize the
compound in PD, Alzheimer's disease, and other therapeutic applications.
Newron is currently evaluating the further clinical development of
ralfinamide for pain and psychiatric diseases. Newron's additional projects
are at various stages of preclinical and clinical development, including
HF0220 for neuroprotection and NW-3509 for the treatment of schizophrenia.
Newron is headquartered in Bresso, near Milan, Italy. The company is listed
at SIX Swiss Exchange, trading symbol NWRN.

Merck Serono S.A., Geneva, 9 Chemin des Mines, 1202 Geneve, Suisse, Media relations, Tel: +41-22-414-36-00

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