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Merck Supporting Innovation in China with D1Med Collaboration

News Release

  • Collaboration aims to advance the application of three-dimensional (3D) cell culture technology in China
  • Merck to provide 3D cell culture products and expertise for the development of D1Med’s patient-derived organoids (PDOs)

Shanghai, China, October 8, 2020 — Merck, a leading science and technology company, is collaborating with D1Med, a Shanghai-based biopharmaceutical start-up precision-medical company, to accelerate production of D1Med’s 3D cell culture technology applications used in the drug discovery process.

“With favorable government policies and increasing research and development investments, we are seeing the boom of innovative pharma and biotech companies in China,” said Steve Vermant, managing director of the Life Science business sector of Merck in China, and head of Research Solutions, Life Science, in China. “This collaboration with D1Med underscores Merck’s long-term commitment to supporting local innovation, especially in the emerging biotech segments.”

As part of the collaboration, Merck will provide D1Med with 3D cell culture products and application support, including local and global expertise to co-develop the 3D cell culture protocol for PDO applications. PDOs are cultures of cells that come from humans and mimic the biological characteristics of the original tumor.

“A 3D cell culture solution is one of the challenges to obtain reproducible and long-term functional patient-derived organoids,” said Professor Hua Guoqiang, chairman of D1Med. “This in-depth collaboration with Merck will help us to access the most advanced technologies and solutions in 3D cell culture and shorten our research and development cycle of the PDO platform, thereby accelerating the commercialization of our products.”

D1Med specializes in PDOs, which are in vitro cellular structures derived from tissue-specific stem cells and can self-organize into “mini-organs” resembling the tissue of origin, which can then be used as tools to study cancer development, drug screening and disease modelling.

Merck recognizes that new technologies like PDOs, genome editing and stem cell therapy have resulted in major advancements in life science research and medicine. The company supports novel modalities under consideration of ethical and legal standards and has established an independent Stem Cell Research Oversight Committee and Bioethics Advisory Panel to provide guidance. Company-wide principles provide a clear, operational position taking into account scientific and societal issues, were defined and transparently published.

About D1Med

D1Med was founded in November 2019, located in Jiading District, Shanghai, China. D1Med’s focus Area comprises: Develop Patient Derived Organoid (PDO) disease model, serving disease mechanism research and drug development.

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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