Merck KGaA is linking up with the Institute of Cancer Research and the Wellcome Trust to develop cancer treatments.
Specifically, the German company’s Merck Serono unit will work with the two UK organisations to identify inhibitors of tankyrase, an enzyme of the poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP) enzyme family. Financial details have not been disclosed but Merck Serono will make milestone payments, plus royalties.

Andree Blaukat, head of the translational innovation platform oncology at Merck Serono, said “we aim to harness the already well-advanced tankyrase programmes” at both ICR and in-house and hope to “ultimately translate these into novel treatment options for cancer patients”. He added that “we will build on a joint compound base of potent tankyrase inhibitors and will leverage both sites’ scientific knowledge about the ‘Wnt pathway’ that plays a major role in signal transduction for tumour growth”.

Dr Blaukat went on to say that interest of the Wellcome Trust “shows its belief in our researchers’ scientific data. It also shows the importance of academia-industry collaboration models”.