Merck and the European Molecular Biology Laboratory announce drug discovery collaboration

MerckMerck, a leading science and technology company, announced today that it has entered into a research collaboration focused on cancer metabolism with the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL), located in Heidelberg, Germany. The collaboration with EMBL is well-aligned with Merck's research and development (R&D) strategy in biopharma to complement its capabilities in early-stage oncology research with external innovation - particularly in specific modalities, including cancer metabolism.

The aim of the collaboration is to investigate mechanisms by which cancer cells generate energy and growth-enabling building blocks, which could ultimately deliver novel therapeutic targets, as well as biomarkers. The collaboration partners will make use of EMBL’s extended capacities and capabilities in the area of metabolomics.

"We are thrilled to enter into this new collaboration with EMBL. It will allow us to access state-of-the-art technologies and know-how, which complement our internal research efforts," said Andree Blaukat, Head of the Translational Innovation Platform Oncology at Merck. "It has become clear that cancer cells engage metabolic pathways to support growth and treatment resistance. Together with EMBL, we have the opportunity to characterize this phenomenon on the molecular level which will be instrumental for the development of novel therapies that target metabolic pathways in cancer."

During the three-year collaboration, EMBL will apply its unique expertise, combining modelling and bioinformatics with experimental approaches to uncover these metabolic pathways and shed light on their control mechanisms. EMBL will also utilize the cutting-edge equipment of its Genomics and Metabolomics Core Facilities to resolve the transcriptional and metabolic profiles of the samples for the study. "Together with Merck as an experienced partner in the field of oncology research, we are excited about the opportunity to apply our technologies to advance cancer research and pave the way for future drug development upon the discovery of novel targets," said Kiran Patil, group leader at EMBL. "Thanks to the cooperation with EMBL's technology transfer arm, we are now ready to start the project and looking forward to the upcoming years."

EMBL Enterprise Management Technology Transfer GmbH (EMBLEM) is the technology transfer arm of EMBL which transacts the collaboration on behalf of EMBL. By supporting scientists to enter collaborations like this one, EMBLEM underpins one of the core missions of EMBL: fostering interaction between academia and industry.

About EMBL
EMBL is Europe's flagship laboratory for the life sciences, with more than 80 independent groups covering the spectrum of molecular biology. EMBL is international, innovative and interdisciplinary - its 1600 employees, from many nations, operate across five sites: the main laboratory in Heidelberg, and outstations in Grenoble; Hamburg; Hinxton, near Cambridge (the European Bioinformatics Institute), and Monterotondo, near Rome. Founded in 1974, EMBL is an inter-governmental organisation funded by public research monies from its member states. The cornerstones of EMBL's mission are: to perform basic research in molecular biology; to train scientists, students and visitors at all levels; to offer vital services to scientists in the member states; to develop new instruments and methods in the life sciences and actively engage in technology transfer activities, and to integrate European life science research. Around 230 students are enrolled in EMBL’s International PhD programme. Additionally, the Laboratory offers a platform for dialogue with the general public through various science communication activities such as lecture series, visitor programmes and the dissemination of scientific achievements.

About EMBLEM
EMBL Enterprise Management Technology Transfer GmbH (EMBLEM) is an affiliate and the commercial arm of the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL). EMBLEM was founded in 1999 to facilitate and accelerate the transfer of innovative technology and know-how from EMBL to industry by way of collaboration, licensing, service provision and creation of spin-out companies.

About Merck
Merck 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 2014, Merck generated sales of € 11.3 billion in 66 countries.

Founded in 1668, Merck is the world's oldest pharmaceutical and chemical company. The founding family remains the majority owner of the publicly listed corporate group. Merck, 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.

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