Merck and Weizmann Institute ink deal

Joint research activities to focus on immunology.

Weizmann Institute of Science (photo credit: MICHAEL JACOBSON/WIKIMEDIA COMMONS)
Weizmann Institute of Science
Merck, the leading healthcare, life sciences and technology company established in Germany in 1668, extended its partnership with the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot on Tuesday by signing a new framework agreement that builds on a successful innovation partnership of almost 40 years.
The new agreement on research collaboration and licensing was signed by Stefan Oschmann, deputy CEO and vice chairman of Merck’s executive board, and others from Germany, while the Israeli signatories were led by Prof.
Mudi Sheves, vice president of technology transfer and Amir Naiberg, CEO of Yeda, the commercial arm of the Rehovot institute.
The agreement will cover the next three years, with an option for multiple successive extensions of two years each.
“We have focused our healthcare research activities on the highly promising fields of immuno-oncology, immunology, and oncology, as we’re striving to deliver new solutions to respond to unmet medical need,” Oschmann said.
“We’re excited that the new framework agreement will cover the first two of these three areas, and are already looking forward to the proposals of the distinguished Weizmann scientists.”
Merck will initially fund each of the two research areas with up to a million euros per year over the three-year period in.
“We are proud that such a fruitful relationship like the one we have with Merck is now extended, and that we have the chance to take part in creating new innovative solutions in critical fields that so many patients worldwide are suffering from,” Sheves said after signing the contract.
Merck’s ties in R&D collaboration with the Weizmann Institute go back as far as 1978.
For example, Merck’s top selling drug Rebif for the treatment of multiple sclerosis was developed at Weizmann Institute, as has Merck’s oncology drug Erbitux.
Merck employs more than 300 people, mainly scientists, in Israel and has sites in Jerusalem, Yavne, Herzliya and Rehovot.
The main focus of the activities here is to manufacture biotechnology products for the life science market, research and development for the healthcare sector and materials development for display applications.