Cancer Research UK’s Commercial Partnerships Team and The Institute of Cancer Research, London, have entered into a multi-project collaboration and licensing deal with Germany’s Merck to discover and develop new anticancer therapies.

The groups will work together on three independent research projects from target hit discovery to preclinical candidate nomination, to advance the discovery and development of potential new cancer drugs and biomarkers.

The deal is structured so that Merck has worldwide rights to take molecules discovered through the collaboration forward into clinical development, while

CR UK and the ICR will receive milestone payments based on the achievement of certain targets as well as royalty payments on any candidates that make it to market.

“This collaboration with Merck and one of Cancer Research UK’s major drug discovery units will help accelerate the development of potential new therapies for cancer patients,” said Dr Iain Foulkes, Cancer Research UK’s executive director of research and innovation.

“It is an exciting example of how successful academic networks and the scale of industry can combine to advance scientific and clinical discoveries.”

The deal follows previous single project drug discovery collaborations and a more recent target validation collaboration between the parties.