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Merck Serono and Selvita Announce Research Collaboration in Cancer

Publish date: 2013-11-04

Darmstadt, Germany, October 24, 2013 – Merck Serono, the biopharmaceutical division of Merck, and Selvita, a biotechnology company based in Poland, announced today that they have entered into a collaboration to jointly discover small molecule based drugs targeting proteins involved in cancer cell metabolism.

Tags: poland , cancer , Selvita , Merck , Serono , Collaboration

Collaboration focusing on lead discovery and lead optimization in cancer metabolism

Darmstadt, Germany, October 24, 2013 – Merck Serono, the biopharmaceutical division of Merck, and Selvita, a biotechnology company based in Poland, announced today that they have entered into a collaboration to jointly discover small molecule based drugs targeting proteins involved in cancer cell metabolism. The partners plan to target key metabolic pathways involved in sustaining growth and proliferation of cancer cells.

The aim of the collaboration is to deliver potential first-in-class molecules as candidate drugs for multiple oncology indications. Both companies will contribute to the collaboration’s research goals and bring their expertise in target validation, bioinformatics, medicinal chemistry, in vitro and in vivo biology and toxicology. Milestone payments will be made to Selvita if Merck Serono initiates development programs or successfully commercializes collaboration candidates.

"As part of our strategy, we utilize the strong technical expertise of our partners to constantly enrich our pipeline with truly differentiated molecules," said Susan Jane Herbert, Executive Vice President, Head of Business Development & Strategy at Merck Serono. “Given the capabilities of Selvita in the area of oncology, we believe that this new partnership will complement our drug discovery efforts, delivering molecules that aim to transform patients' lives."

Pawel Przewiezlikowski, the Chief Executive Officer of Selvita, said: “It is an honor for us to start this collaboration with Merck Serono, and to form project teams by bringing together our combined oncology expertise and drug discovery know-how, our scientists and technical resources.”

Krzysztof Brzozka, the Chief Scientific Officer of Selvita, added: “Both companies aim at rapid validation of emerging targets through a preclinical proof of concept, followed by translation of the findings into development concepts for potential novel therapies. I believe that the dynamic and innovative environment at both companies guarantees a cutting edge approach for this joint research initiative.”

Selvita started its first oncology discovery program in 2008, and has built over the last five years a team of science driven experts.

As part of the research collaboration Selvita will receive from Merck Serono over 2013 - 2015 planned research funding of € 2.4 million and additional funding for external costs. Merck Serono will also perform additional research at its own cost within the jointly defined research plan. After the end of the collaboration the parties aim to continue the development of jointly discovered molecules which may constitute additional revenue stream for Selvita from development milestones.

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.
For more information, please visit

About Merck

 Merck is a leading pharmaceutical, chemical and life science company with total revenues of € 11.2 billion in 2012, a history that began in 1668, and a future shaped by approx. 38,000 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 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.

About Selvita

Selvita is a Polish biotechnology company engaged in the discovery and development of breakthrough medicines to treat oncology, CNS and autoimmune disorders, as well as provision of drug discovery services. It was established in 2007 and currently employs 162 people, including 53 PhDs. Selvita has currently several internal projects at early or late discovery stage and is expected to move its first candidates to the clinic in 2014. The most advanced programs at Selvita are SEL24, a pre-clinical PIM/FLT3 mutant kinase inhibitor, with indications in AML and other hematological malignancies and SEL120, first-in-class small molecule inhibitor of cyclin dependent kinase CDK8. Other innovative projects currently in development include SEL141, an early stage discovery program of DYRK1A kinase inhibitors with therapeutic potential in the treatment targeting Alzheimer's disease and Down syndrome, SEL201 – novel small molecule MNK1/2 inhibitors in oncology and inflammasome platform.  Drug discovery clients of Selvita include more than fifty large and medium-sized pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies from USA and Europe. Selvita is listed on the NewConnect market of the Warsaw Stock Exchange in Poland (SLV). Additional information about Selvita can be found on


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