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Merck extends Weizmann Institute partnership

Merck KGaA will fund research in immuno-oncology and immunology with up to €1 million each per year for 3 years.

Merck extends Weizmann Institute partnership

Merck KGaA has extended its partnership with Israel’s Weizmann Institute of Science by signing a new framework agreement, building on a successful innovation partnership of almost four decades.

The new framework agreement on research collaboration and licensing was signed by Stefan Oschmann, Deputy CEO and Vice Chairman of the Executive Board of Merck, Belén Garijo, Member of the Executive Board of Merck and CEO Healthcare, Prof. Mudi Sheves Vice President of Technology Transfer of the Weizmann Institute, and Amir Naiberg, CEO of Yeda, the commercial arm of the Weizmann Institute, at Weizmann’s site in Rehovot, Israel, last night. It will span the next three years, with an option for multiple successive extensions of two years each.

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“We have focused our healthcare research activities on the highly promising fields of immuno-oncology, immunology and oncology as we’re striving to deliver new solutions to respond to unmet medical needs, ” Oschmann said. “We’re excited that the new framework agreement will cover the first two of these three areas and are already looking forward to the proposals of the distinguished Weizmann scientists.”

As part of the new framework agreement Merck will fund each of the two research areas with up to €1 million per year over the three-year period initially.

“We are proud that such a fruitful relationship like the one we have with Merck has now been extended and that we have the chance to take part in creating new innovative solutions in such critical fields that so many patients globally are suffering from, ” Sheves said after signing the contract.

Merck’s ties in research and development collaboration with the Weizmann Institute go back as far as 1978. Merck’s top selling multiple sclerosis drug Rebif, which had sales of €1.8 billion in 2014, has intellectual roots in the Weizmann Institute, as has its oncology drug Erbitux, which had sales of €0.9 billion in 2014.

Merck employs more than 300 people, mainly scientists, in Israel, and has sites in Yavne, Herzliya, Rehovot and Jerusalem. The main focus of the activities in Israel is to manufacture biotechnology products for the life science market, research and development for the healthcare sector and materials development for display applications.

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