Merck Serono Announces Collaboration with BioMed X Innovation Center in Heidelberg, Germany

  • Lab for research projects at the interface between industry and academia, established in Heidelberg in collaboration with BioMed X GmbH
  • Constitution of a new class of innovation model to leverage external resources to contribute to Merck Serono’s research efforts
  • Top life science talents are selected to collaborate in teams in an open-innovation lab with guidance of experienced mentors from academia and Merck Serono

Darmstadt, Germany, April 3, 2013 – Merck Serono, a division of Merck, Darmstadt, Germany, announced today a collaboration to start innovation projects under the roof of an innovation center operated by BioMed X GmbH. This new research lab will establish a new way of fostering innovation. With the support of BioMed X, it will allow Merck Serono to run research projects with interdisciplinary project teams of young talented scientists, coached by a supervisor at Merck Serono and an experienced academic in an open-innovation lab facility in Heidelberg. The new innovation concept has been co-developed by Merck Serono and BioMed X. A contract has been signed between both parties.

Top young talent from leading academic institutions world-wide will be selected through assessment centers based on their scientific expertise, creative energy, and passion for product-oriented pre-clinical research and development. Interdisciplinary project teams will collaborate with guidance of experienced mentors while expanding their scientific network and receiving an intensive entrepreneurship and leadership training. The lab will be placed at a global innovation hotspot, the life science campus of the University of Heidelberg, providing access to a broad academic network and a creative environment.

“Our goal is to seed and boost early stage research projects by placing them into a vibrant environment”

Under the terms of the agreement, Merck Serono will run its own research projects in the biomedical research lab in Heidelberg operated by BioMed X. The projects will be funded by Merck Serono. The project teams will work on new approaches for the therapy of cancer. Further details of the agreement and financial terms were not disclosed.

“Our goal is to seed and boost early stage research projects by placing them into a vibrant environment, bringing in top young talent to work at the interface between industry and academia in one of the top European research hubs in Heidelberg,” said Bernhard Kirschbaum, Head of Global Research and Early Development at Merck Serono. “We expect this concept can result in a constant flow of innovative projects and creative talent into Merck Serono.”

Merck Serono is committed to providing guidance and coaching and to ensuring the highest industry quality standards. Furthermore, participants will have access to Merck Serono’s technical expertise and research infrastructure.

In addition to operating the innovation center, BioMed X will be responsible for world-wide recruiting of young talents, providing education to teams and securing access to academic research infrastructure in Heidelberg.

“I believe forming teams of top life science talents from around the world and providing experienced mentors from academia and industry is a critical step to success,” said Christian Tidona, founder and managing director of BioMed X GmbH. “Our strength lies in embedding these teams in a strong local network and leveraging the opportunities of an innovation hotspot such as Heidelberg.”

About BioMed X Innovation Center

BioMed X is introducing a new innovation model at the interface between academic biomedical research and the pharma industry. The company’s goal is to establish and run BioMed X Innovation Centers in major innovation hubs world-wide. The innovation model constitutes a new class of incubator where top life science talents from all over the world are jointly working on biomedical innovation outside the pharma box.

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About Merck Serono

Merck Serono is the biopharmaceutical division of Merck. With headquarters in Darmstadt, Germany, Merck Serono offers leading brands in 150 countries to help patients with cancer, multiple sclerosis, infertility, endocrine and metabolic disorders as well as cardiovascular diseases. In the United States and Canada, EMD Serono operates as a separately incorporated subsidiary of Merck Serono.

Merck Serono discovers, develops, manufactures and markets prescription medicines of both chemical and biological origin in specialist indications. We have an enduring commitment to deliver novel therapies in our core focus areas of neurology, oncology, immuno-oncology and immunology.

About Merck

Merck is a global pharmaceutical, chemical and life-science tools company with total revenues of €11.2 billion in 2012, a history that began in 1668, and a future shaped by approx. 39,000 employees in 66 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 shareholders own the remaining approximately 30%. In 1917 the U.S. subsidiary Merck & Co. was expropriated and has been an independent company ever since.

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Bettina Rohmann-Lawrenz
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