In June 2009, AstraZeneca and Merck entered into an agreement to conduct joint phase 1 clinical trials of their respective cancer drugs — AstraZeneca's MEK inhibitor AZD6244 (ARRY-886) and Merck's AKT inhibitor MK-2206.
This pioneering, early-stage collaboration between Merck and AstraZeneca — 2 leading companies with a wealth of expertise in oncology — is based on our mutual determination to develop impactful therapies that improve patients' lives.
With this partnership, Merck and AstraZeneca are changing how the industry is working to develop new therapies. There is strong scientific rationale to suggest that the potential benefit of this combination to cancer patients may exceed the sum of the parts.
Enlight Bioscience was formed through a partnership between Merck, Pfizer, Eli Lilly, and the investment firm, PureTech Ventures. Since Enlight's founding, Johnson & Johnson, Novartis, and Abbott have joined ranks with their fellow major pharma partners to fund and guide the Boston-based company in its quest to fundamentally alter drug discovery and development.
Enlight searches for novel, cutting edge technologies drawn from academic laboratories, startups, and ideas generated internally by the Enlight team. Then, aided by the strategic input and expertise of its investing partners, the company develops the technology first for the labs of its pharmaceutical partners and ultimately for broader commercial adoption. Enlight's current focus is on imaging, biomarker platforms and predictive toxicology.
As a founding partner in the Enlight venture, Merck is helping to improve how new discoveries are brought to the market.
The collaboration between Orchid and Merck, formed in September 2008, is not only one of several risk-sharing partnerships that Merck values, but also one of several that benefits from the innovative research being performed in emerging markets. The partnership began with an open exchange between scientists from the 2 companies who identified shared interest in and the potential of Orchid's antifungal compounds.
Then the 2 companies engaged in an open, transparent, and collaborative process to structure a deal that leveraged the unique capabilities of each organization, while sharing the risks and potential rewards. Merck scientists work closely with the Orchid team on early-stage research and retains the right to advance the most promising candidates into late-stage clinical trials.
Orchid gains access to valuable technologies they may need to advance their research and experience that they can use in other programs. Merck expands its bandwidth in research and benefits from Orchid's expertise with their novel compounds. With both companies finding value, risk-sharing is yet another type of innovative deal that provides a win-win for both partners.
"That is why the announcement by Merck and AstraZeneca is so important. It establishes a new Paradigm."
"We see the work of Enlight Biosciences as pre-competitive. Enlight's output will be new technologies, not pharmaceutical products. Why were we the first investor? I'd say because at Merck, we have a creative and innovative mindset."