ROCKLAND, Mass. and HOUSTON, Aug. 10 /PRNewswire/ -- EMD Serono, Inc. and The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center today announced a strategic alliance designed to provide M. D. Anderson with early insight into potential cancer treatments and to accelerate EMD Serono's preclinical and early clinical research to ultimately bring new drugs to patients faster. The agreement is set for three years with the potential to renew the alliance. Both parties decided not to disclose financial details.
This non-exclusive strategic alliance will collaboratively draw on the expertise and resources of M. D. Anderson and EMD Serono to help design and conduct clinical trials for EMD Serono's oncology product candidates. M. D. Anderson is a leader in innovative approaches to oncology clinical trials.
"Building and executing collaborative clinical development programs that optimize the value of EMD Serono's products is a core element of the company's overall strategy as we grow our oncology presence in the U.S.," said Dr. Bernhard Kirschbaum, Executive Vice President, Research & Development, Merck Serono. "We hope that through this alliance we are able to initiate important clinical trials faster and more efficiently to fully exploit our rich oncology pipeline. This is also a great opportunity to interact with scientists from M. D. Anderson to ultimately provide new treatment options for people living with cancer."
This collaboration brings together two leaders in the field of personalized medicine with a renewed commitment to the translational research that will ensure the identification and clinical development of biomarkers to tailor personalized cancer therapies to the needs of patients.
"The strategic alliance with EMD Serono allows us to collaborate with a leading biopharmaceutical organization to gain important, earlier insights into preclinical and clinical investigational compounds," said Dr. Robert Bast, M.D., Ph.D. and Vice President for Translational Research at M. D. Anderson. "We believe there are many opportunities within this alliance to further expand both organizations' research initiatives and programs within oncology to bring more effective treatments to our patients."
This agreement underscores EMD Serono's commitment to partnering with academic and medical institutions in an effort to drive forward late stage research and early stage development.
M. D. Anderson currently provides care for approximately 90,000 patients each year. In 2008, nearly 13,000 of its patients participated in clinical trials exploring novel treatments, the largest such program in the nation. EMD Serono is currently evaluating its oncology clinical pipeline, along with key investigators at M. D. Anderson, to determine which Phase I clinical trials will benefit from the strategic alliance, and expects, together, to begin patient enrollment for selected trials in 2009.
About M. D. Anderson
The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston ranks as one of the world's most respected centers focused on cancer patient care, research, education and prevention. M. D. Anderson is one of only 40 comprehensive cancer centers designated by the National Cancer Institute. For six of the past eight years, including 2009, M. D. Anderson has ranked No. 1 in cancer care in "America's Best Hospitals," a survey published annually in U.S. News & World Report.
About EMD Serono
EMD Serono, Inc., an affiliate of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, is a leader in the US biopharmaceutical arena, integrating cutting-edge science with unparalleled patient support systems to improve people's lives. The company has strong market positions in neurodegenerative diseases, with Rebif(R) (interferon beta-1a), as well as in endocrinology, with Saizen(R) (somatropin (rDNA origin) for injection) and Serostim(R) (somatropin (rDNA origin) for injection). EMD Serono is a leader in fertility treatments, with Gonal-f(R) (follitropin alfa for injection), Luveris(R) (lutropin alfa for injection) and Ovidrel(R) Prefilled Syringe (choriogonadotropin alpha injection). With a clear focus on the patient and a leadership presence in the biopharmaceutical industry, EMD Serono's US footprint continues to grow, with more than 1000 employees around the country and fully integrated commercial, clinical and research operations in the company's home state of Massachusetts.
For more information, please visit www.emdserono.com
SOURCE EMD Serono, Inc.