Merck Life Science Announces Recipients of 2015China Emerging Biotech Grant Program
Date, 2015 Shanghai, CHINA— Merck, a leading science and technology company, has announced the winners of itsEmerging Biotech Grant Program in China.
In order to be considered for the grant, applicants from emerging biotechnology companies across China were asked to describe the therapeutic impact of the drug in development and the technical challenges they needed to address. A total of 100 projectswere submitted.
Scientists from Merck Life Science carefully reviewed each application and selected the winning submissions based on the following critieria: (i) the scientific and societal merit of the therapy being developed, and (ii) process challenges and expertise gaps associated with the development of the therapy. Each grant recipient will receive 280,000 CNY in technologies and services to help solve their toughest challenges.
The five grant recipients are:
- Beijing Biokey, developing a monoclonal antibody for the treatment of fibrotic disease
- Guangdong Jida Genetic Medicine Engineering Research Center, developing novel therapeutics totreat cancer andautoimmune diseases
- Hangzhou DAC biotech, developing antibody drug conjugates to treat cancer
- Akeso Biopharma, developing a pipeline of antibodies targetingcancer, cardiovascular and immune diseases
- Shanghai Mattel Biotechnology, developing an innovative long acting fusion FVIII to treat hemophilia A
The China grant program follows the success of the 2014 grant awarded to NGM Pharmaceuticals in the United States.
“We were excited to offer our Emerging Biotech Grant Program in China and were gratified to receive such an impressive set of submissions,” said Benoit Gourdier, Head of Merck Process Solutions Commercial Area Asia. “Our selection committee noted that choosing the winners was like picking the most beautiful shell from the Great Barrier Reef, a difficult but rewarding challenge.”
“The Merck Emerging Biotech Grant will be very helpful, especially for small companies with limited experience and an incomplete technical platform for drug development,” said Dr. LongZhitao, technical director, Biokey, a grant recipient. “With the aid of Merck's products, technologies and experience, we will not only be able to accelerate our current project, but also enhance our own capabilities and achieve success.”
Grant recipients were honoured at a ceremony on November 25 at the Merck facility in Shanghai.
At the ceremony, Benoit Gourdier, Head of Merck Process Solutions Commercial Area Asia and Sun Nan XiangHead of Merck Process Solutions Commercial Area China, of Merck Life Sciences in Asia emphasized the commitment of Merck to support emerging biotechnology companies, enabling them to further their research and advance science. Rapid growth of theChinese biotechnology industry was highlighted along with the important role ofemerging companies delivering important innovation to generate promising drugs for the future.
“This program is directly helping the small biotech firms,” noted Dr. Xiaomai Zhou, vice president, Hangzhou DAC Biotech, a grant recipient, “as the selection criteria include process challenges and expertise gaps, this helps ensure the small companies have the needs that Merck can help to meet.”
“This kind of initiative will help growing emerging biotechnology companies and Merck should do more activities like this to give visibility to your capabilities in supportingemerging biotech in China” said Dr Sheng Xiong, vice general manager at Guangdong Jida Genetic Medicine Engineering Research Center, a recipient of the grant.
Following the award ceremony, grant recipients and guests were provided a tour of the Shanghai site which includes
- Biomanufacturing Science Training Center,
- Provantage® Lab facilities
- Process System Center, a local system hardware design and construction
Emerging biotechnology companies are essential to the development of life-enhancing and life-saving therapeutics that will have a positive impact on patients around the world. Merck remains committed to helping these companies thrive through important initiatives such as this grant program.