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Home > Press > Merck Serono and EPFL Announce Research Partnership in Neuroscience, Oncology and Drug Delivery

Abstract:
Three Merck Serono-Endowed Chairs Will be Created at EPFL

Merck Serono and EPFL Announce Research Partnership in Neuroscience, Oncology and Drug Delivery

GENEVA, Switzerland | Posted on October 31st, 2007

Merck Serono and EPFL Open a Major Research Fund

Merck Serono, a division of Merck KGaA, and EPFL (Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne), one of the two Swiss Federal Institutes of Technology, announced today the signing of a research collaboration agreement in the areas of Neuroscience, Oncology and Drug Delivery. Under this agreement, three Merck Serono-endowed Chairs will be created at EPFL: in neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's; in cancer, in the framework of the Swiss Institute for Experimental Cancer Research (ISREC); and in innovative drug delivery technologies, for instance nanoparticle vaccines.

Merck Serono will make a total donation of CHF 12.5 million for the Chairs. The professors heading the Merck Serono Chairs will be hired in a way consistent with the quality standards of EPFL.

"We are very pleased to be partnering with one of the world-renowned places of scientific and technical expertise," said Elmar Schnee, President of Merck Serono. "Our collaboration will contribute to the advancement of basic research in areas of high unmet medical needs, such as Neuroscience and Oncology, and to the improvement of drug delivery methods to more effectively treat patients with existing and new medicines. This collaboration will promote the general excellence of the Lake Geneva region in life sciences."

In order to develop the scope of collaboration at the highest academic level and open major perspectives in terms of new therapies and medical applications, Merck Serono will also open a research fund at EPFL of up to CHF 3 million per year over five years.

"This partnership is a great win-win situation", said EPFL President Patrick Aebischer. "It will allow EPFL researchers to participate in the development of drugs for serious human conditions such as cancer and neurodegenerative diseases, and our students to better understand the needs of the life sciences industry."

This agreement between Merck Serono and EPFL sets a new standard in academic-industrial partnerships. It illustrates the quality of research in Switzerland and also underlines the potential of transdisciplinary projects that bring together expertise and resources in life sciences, basic sciences, information technology and engineering.

The partnership's success will be confirmed through novel therapeutic strategies, academic performance (scientific publications and conferences) and educational opportunities.

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About Merck Serono
Merck Serono, the new division for innovative small molecules and biopharmaceuticals of Merck, was established following the acquisition of Serono and the integration of its business with the former Merck Ethicals Division. Headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland, Merck Serono discovers, develops, produces and commercializes innovative products to help patients with diseases with unmet needs. Our North American business operates in the United States and Canada under EMD Serono.

Merck Serono has leading brands serving patients with cancer (Erbitux(R)), multiple sclerosis (Rebif(R)), infertility (Gonal-f(R)), metabolic and cardiometabolic disorders (Glucophage(R), Concor(R), Saizen(R), Serostim(R)), as well as psoriasis (Raptiva(R)). With an annual R&D investment of EUR 1bn, we are committed to growing our business in specialist-focused therapeutic areas such as Neurodegenerative Diseases and Oncology, as well as new therapeutic areas potentially arising out of our research and development in Autoimmune and Inflammatory Diseases.

About Merck

Merck is a global pharmaceutical and chemical company with sales of EUR 6.3 billion in 2006, a history that began in 1668, and a future shaped by 30,962 employees in 61 countries. Its success is characterized by innovations from entrepreneurial employees. Merck's operating activities come under the umbrella of Merck KGaA, in which the Merck family holds an approximately 70% interest and free shareholders own the remaining approximately 30%. In 1917 the U.S. subsidiary Merck & Co. was expropriated and has been an independent company ever since.

For more information, please visit http://www.merckserono.net or http://www.merck.de

About EPFL

EPFL is one of the two Ecoles Polytechniques fédérales in Switzerland. It has three missions: education, research and technology transfer at the highest international level. In its idyllic location on the shores of Lake Geneva, EPFL brings together a campus of more than 10,000 people. It offers 13 complete study programs at the Bachelor's and Master's levels in engineering, basic sciences, computer and communication sciences, life sciences, civil engineering, architecture and the environment. With more than 250 laboratories and research groups on campus, EPFL is one of Europe's most innovative and productive technology institutes.

For more information, please visit http://www.epfl.ch

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Merck Serono International S.A.
9, chemin des Mines
1202 Geneva
Switzerland
Phone: +41 22 414 3000
Fax: +41 22 731 2179

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