HomePress ReleasesMerck Awards Grant to Combined Therapeutics for its Nucleic Acid Platform That, with Virotherapy, Targets Liver Cancer

Merck Awards Grant to Combined Therapeutics for its Nucleic Acid Platform That, with Virotherapy, Targets Liver Cancer

News Release

  • Nucleic acid platform combined with virotherapy targets cancerous cells while protecting healthy tissue of key organ
  • Company to receive in-kind Merck products, consultation in downstream processing, formulation excipients and sterile filtration

Darmstadt, Germany, October 19, 2020 — Merck, a leading science and technology company, today announced that Combined Therapeutics Inc., Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA, has been selected as the North American winner of its 2020 Advance Biotech Grant Program. The biotechnology company was selected for its innovative nucleic acid platform which, combined with virotherapy, has the potential to treat liver cancer by using a lipid nanoparticle delivery system.

“We help pioneering biotech companies bring lifesaving drugs to market, faster,” said Andrew Bulpin, head of Process Solutions, Life Science, at Merck. “Combined Therapeutics’ platform shows promise to treat liver cancer, which affects thousands of people across the world each year.” As part of the award, Combined Therapeutics Inc. will receive in-kind Merck products and consultation in downstream processing, formulation excipients and sterile filtration.

Combined Therapeutics Inc. is in pre-clinical development of a platform to treat cancer by targeting solid tumors, while protecting the healthy tissue of key organs. Virotherapy is a treatment that uses a modified virus to target and destroy cancer cells. However, this approach can often lead to low patient response and safety concerns due to poor targeting. Combined Therapeutics aims to direct and enhance virotherapies while preventing off-target effects. With its potential to target specific cells only, this combined approach shows promise to be a safe and effective therapy for cancer.

“Merck’s expertise in large biomolecule filtration, scale-up and extensive range of excipients will play a pivotal role in moving this project forward to GMP and clinical trials,” said Romain Micol, chief executive officer, Combined Therapeutics Inc. “We are honored to have been selected as the winner of Merck’s Advance Biotech Grant, and we look forward to the collaboration.”

Since 2014, Merck’s Advance Biotech Grant Program has awarded technologies and consultation to 28 biotechnology companies. These grants have been used to support biotech companies whose missions are to help patients suffering from cancer, brain tumors, osteoarthritis and cardiovascular disorders.

Learn more about Emerging Biotech.

About Combined Therapeutics Inc.

Combined Therapeutics Inc. (CTx) is a pre-clinical-stage biotech in the game-changing segment of cancer research that is immunotherapy. The company is converging nanomedicine and biotechnology to enhance the tumoral cells and the tumoral microenvironment targeting. Based in Cambridge, MA, Combined Therapeutics Inc. (CTx) is an immuno-oncology spin-out from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

About Merck

Merck, a leading science and technology company, operates across healthcare, life science, and electronics. Around 58,000 employees work to make a positive difference to millions of people’s lives every day by creating more joyful and sustainable ways to live. From advancing gene-editing technologies and discovering unique ways to treat the most challenging diseases to enabling the intelligence of devices – the company is everywhere. In 2020, Merck generated sales of € 17.5  billion in 66 countries.

Scientific exploration and responsible entrepreneurship have been key to Merck’s technological and scientific advances. This is how Merck has thrived since its founding in 1668. The founding family remains the majority owner of the publicly listed company. Merck holds the global rights to the Merck name and brand. The only exceptions are the United States and Canada, where the business sectors of Merck operate as EMD Serono in healthcare, MilliporeSigma in life science, and EMD Electronics.

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