Merck has extended its existing collaboration with BioMed X, an independent research institute located at the University of Heidelberg in Germany, to continue research in the areas of oncology and autoimmunity.
As part of the new agreement, Merck will launch an additional six research projects at the BioMed X Institute, on top of its ongoing research projects in oncology and autoimmunity.
The oncology research is focusing on DNA damage response and RNA splicing, while the autoimmunity research is investigating the intestinal epithelial barrier in autoimmune diseases.
“We are very grateful for the trust and support we received from Merck over the past eight years since we started our collaboration,” Christian Tidona, founder and managing director of the BioMed X Institute said.
“This new agreement with Merck is a great validation of our unique innovation model, showing that it delivers sustained translational value to the early R&D pipelines of our pharma partners,” she added.
Merck and BioMed X’s next joint global crowdsourcing project is set to explore the mechanisms of immune senescence and mitochondrial dysfunction in regulatory T cells and other T cell subsets that are shared in human autoimmunity and ageing.
"We are excited to strengthen our ongoing commitment to our partnership with BioMed X,” said Ulrich A.K. Betz, vice president innovation at Merck.
“As a result of this successful collaboration, multiple innovative discovery projects in new research areas have been started at Merck, including the successful implementation of our open innovation concept ‘outcubation’ published in Nature Biotechnology, and we look forward to the scientific advances to come,” he added.
Merck first entered a partnership with BioMed X in 2013, with their previously initiated research projects resulting in 25 scientific publications as well as several new potential drug target genes which have been further investigated in pre-clinical studies at Merck.