German pharmaceutical company Merck has signed a cooperative agreement with Ramot at Tel Aviv University Ltd. for commercialization of new cancer treatment technology developed at Tel Aviv University. The technology was developed in the laboratory of Prof. Ronit Satchi-Fainaro from the Faculty of Medicine and Prof. Doron Shabat from the School of Chemistry.
The technology developed at the university makes it possible to connect a new type of antibody that is able to identify malignant tumors to drugs that can kill them. In other technologies, such combinations have given the world best-selling anti-cancer drugs. These focused treatments succeed in attacking the malignant tumor, while reducing the damage caused to healthy tissue. According to Regine Shevach, CEO of Inter-Lab, Merck's Israeli R&D division, this technology makes it possible to connect the antibodies with the drugs in a new way that was formerly considered impossible, thereby significantly improving the effectiveness and safety of this type of treatment.
The new product will not pass through Merck's biotech incubator in Yavne, which is subordinate to Inter-Lab; it will be subordinated directly to Merck's research laboratories.
The financial particulars of the agreement were not disclosed, but it will initially include two years of support by Merck for development of the product at the university. The agreement also includes an option for Merck to later acquire the technology and rights to additional discoveries resulting from Merck-financed research. A joint steering team composed of representatives from both companies will supervise the project.
Ramot VP business development, life sciences Dr. Adi Elkeles said, "We hope to extend the connection between the two enterprises in the coming year, and add additional promising cooperative efforts to it."
Published by Globes [online], Israel Business News - www.globes-online.com - on February 1, 2017
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