Merck (MRK), Evotec to Collaborate on Target Discovery Technologies

November 30, 2016 6:21 AM EST

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Evotec AG announced the signing of a set of collaboration agreements with the life science business of Merck, which will combine Merck's portfolio of genome editing technologies with Evotec's versatile screening platforms and disease expertise. Evotec will leverage Merck's comprehensive collection of genetic reagents such as viral CRISPR and shRNA libraries to enable new target discovery programmes using its capabilities for phenotypic screening in primary and induced pluripotent stem ("iPS") cells, as well as its in vivo disease models. Bringing together the complementary offerings, the two companies aim to provide fast and validated workflows to clients seeking to explore a new target space within complex disease models.

Dr Mario Polywka, Chief Operating Officer of Evotec, commented: "Together with our recent licensing of the CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing technology, these agreements with Merck further strengthen Evotec's offering in the area of target identification and validation for our partners. Deploying Merck's assay-ready reagents on our cellular screening platforms and in vivo models creates powerful capabilities in the area of target ID. With this we provide more value to joint clients by a one-stop-shop solution for this innovative drug discovery segment."

"The life science business of Merck has always been a leader in the development and distribution of functional genomics reagents, like CRISPR and shRNA", said Theresa S. Creasey, Head of Applied Solutions Strategic Marketing & Innovation at Merck. "Our Cell Design Studio team has been making custom cell lines for drug discovery for a decade, so this is an area where we are strong. What we were missing was a collaborator that could apply these reagents and cell lines for our customers, creating a full service, one-stop solution. Working with an expert in this field like Evotec completes our offering."

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