EMD Serono Announces Pioneering Researchers Awarded with $1.1 Million Through Grant for Oncology Innovation Initiative

- Global winners selected by internationally renowned oncologists and researchers for pushing the boundaries of creativity and science to explore innovative research in the personalized treatment of solid tumors

Sep 28, 2015, 10:59 ET from EMD Serono

ROCKLAND, Mass., Sept. 28, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- EMD Serono, the U.S. biopharmaceutical business of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, today announced the winners of the 2015 Grant for Oncology Innovation (GOI), who will receive grants totaling $1.1 million.

This year's winners are:

  • Dr. Roberto Chiarle, University of Turin, Italy, for his proposal to elucidate the molecular mechanisms underlying relapse in a subset of patients with non-small cell lung cancer, following anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK)-targeted tyrosine kinase inhibitor (TKI) therapy. Around half of patients treated with ALK-TKI therapy will relapse without explanation, meaning they are not able to benefit from additional lines of targeted therapy.
  • Dr. Josep Maria Piulats Rodriguez, Catalan Institute of Oncology, Spain, for his proposal to explore immunogenic mutations as a therapeutic target, and to demonstrate the potential for personalized cancer-specific vaccines to generate T-cell responses in human tumors.
  • Dr. Rodrigo Dienstmann, Vall d'Hebron Institute of Oncology, Spain, for his proposal to analyze clinical and gene expression data, and translating the findings to inform the design of early clinical trials into therapies that target intracellular signals on which colorectal cancers depend.

"We are proud to present the Grant for Oncology Innovation to these outstanding researchers and their teams, and offer our sincere congratulations. Their groundbreaking work helps us better understand solid tumor biology, pushing us closer to personalized cancer therapies that could one day change patients' lives," said Belen Garijo, Member of the Executive Board and CEO of the biopharmaceutical division of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany. "We hope this grant supports their continued pioneering work in this critical area of research."

The 2015 winners were formally announced at an awards ceremony coinciding with the 2015 European Cancer Congress (ECC) 2015 in Vienna, Austria. Winners were selected by an international Scientific Steering Committee comprised of leading oncologists
and researchers.

The GOI was created to support researchers who are breaking new ground with innovative projects by providing the potential to advance research in the increasingly important area of personalized treatment of solid tumors. The grant was launched in September 2013 at the European Cancer Congress (ECCO-ESMO-ESTRO) in Amsterdam.

The Grant for Oncology Innovation builds on the success of the Grant for Fertility Innovation (GFI), the Grant for Multiple Sclerosis Innovation (GMSI) and the Grant for Growth Innovation (GGI), which are all awarded annually.

For more information on the GOI and details of how to apply for the 2016 award, please visit: www.grantforoncologyinnovation.org  

About EMD Serono
EMD Serono, the U.S. biopharmaceutical business of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, is a leading U.S. biopharma company focused exclusively on specialty care. For more than 40 years, EMD Serono has integrated cutting-edge science, innovative products and devices, and industry-leading patient support and access programs. EMD Serono has deep expertise in neurology, fertility and endocrinology, as well as a robust pipeline of potential therapies in neurology, oncology, immunology and immuno-oncology. Today, EMD Serono has more than 1,100 employees around the country with commercial, clinical and research operations based in the company's home state of Massachusetts.

For more information, please visit www.emdserono.com.

Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany
Merck KGaA of Darmstadt, Germany, is a leading company for innovative and top-quality high-tech products in healthcare, life science and performance materials. The company has six businesses – Biopharmaceuticals, Consumer Health, Allergopharma, Biosimilars, Life Science and Performance Materials – and generated sales of € 11.3 billion in 2014. Around 39,000 employees work in 66 countries to improve the quality of life for patients, to foster the success of customers and to help meet global challenges. Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, is the world's oldest pharmaceutical and chemical company – since 1668, the company has stood for innovation, business success and responsible entrepreneurship. Holding an approximately 70% interest, the founding family remains the majority owner of the company to this day. Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany holds the global rights to the Merck name and brand. The only exceptions are Canada and the United States, where the company operates as EMD Serono, EMD Millipore and EMD Performance Materials.

CONTACT: Cory Tromblee, Phone: 781.681.2393