Merck, ICR and Wellcome Trust to develop cancer treatments

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Merck is to work with the Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) and Wellcome Trust in a bid to develop new cancer treatments.

Merck Serono, the company’s German unit, will enter into a collaboration with the two UK organisations in order to identify inhibitors of tankyrase – an enzyme of the poly (ADP-ribose) and polymerase (PARP) family.

The financial details of the arrangement have not yet been revealed, however it is believed that Merck will make milestone payments as well as pay royalties.

Andree Blaukat, Merck Serono’s head of translational innovation platform oncology, said: “We aim to harness the already well-advanced tankyrase programmes (both in-house and at ICR) and ultimately translate these into novel treatment options for cancer patients.” 

Dr Blaukat added that the company will seek to leverage existing scientific knowledge at both sites regarding the role the ‘Wnt pathway’ plays in signalling transduction for tumour growth.

Wellcome Trust’s participation is seen as an endorsement of Merck Serono and ICR’s scientific data.