Focus on cancer metabolism aims to deliver novel therapeutic targets and biomarkers

Darmstadt, Germany, March 3, 2016 – Merck, 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.

[text-snippet id=”117″]About EMBL[/text-snippet]

[text-snippet id=”118″]About EMBLEM[/text-snippet]

[text-snippet id=”119″]About Merck[/text-snippet]