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Merck KGaA and Lead Discovery Center Enter Collaboration for the Discovery of Anti-Cancer Compounds

Posted: 20 January 2011 | | No comments yet

Merck Serono, announced today that Merck KGaA has signed a cooperation agreement with the Lead Discovery Center GmbH (LDC)…

Merck Serono, announced today that Merck KGaA has signed a cooperation agreement with the Lead Discovery Center GmbH (LDC)...

Merck Serono, a division of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, announced today that Merck KGaA has signed a cooperation agreement with the , a small molecule drug discovery spin-off of Max Planck Innovation GmbH, for the discovery of kinase inhibitors as potential cancer treatments.

The collaboration is supported by the German Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) under the BioPharma initiative to strengthen the pharmaceutical value chain in Germany.

Using an innovative kinase technology platform originating from the Chemical Genomics Centre of the Max Planck Society (CGC, Dortmund), Merck Serono and the LDC aim to identify inhibitory compounds against at least one undisclosed kinase target and advance them through the drug discovery process up to pharmaceutical lead compounds.

“We are delighted about this agreement with the LDC and believe that this collaboration has a great potential to provide the basis for the development of further treatment options in oncology,” said Dr. Bernhard Kirschbaum, Executive Vice President, Research and Development, at Merck Serono.

Kinases are key components of biochemical signalling pathways that control cellular growth, metabolism and differentiation. They have therefore become prime targets for drug discovery and development in many diseases, especially in oncology. “Our proprietary technology allows for the identification of innovative allosteric kinase inhibitors that hold strong potential for improved potency and selectivity,” says Prof. Dr. Daniel Rauh, group leader at the CGC. “We are excited about the alliance between the LDC and Merck Serono as it provides us with the unique chance to translate our approach into application.”

Under the terms of the agreement, the LDC and Merck Serono will work closely together, with each partner contributing its particular expertise and infrastructure as well as their own resources in the fields of assay development, screening, medicinal chemistry and pharmacology.

“Merck Serono is a recognized leader in drug discovery and development and we are extremely pleased to team up with them,” Dr. Bert Klebl, Managing Director of the LDC, adds. “The alliance is a major milestone for the LDC and could well become a role model for highly efficient and professional collaboration between academia and industry. It verifies LDC’s positioning as a translational research center with the aim of leveraging excellent academic research for industrial application and the development of medicines.”

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