Protein Production Cell Line Challenge

You are invited to optimize antibody production in CHO cells from a given expression construct.


The Challenge

On the occasion of its 350th anniversary, Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany is initiating a competition to identify a CHO (Chinese Hamster Ovarian) cell line with most optimal antibody production yield. Anyone from around the world may register for the competition. From these applicants, Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany will choose up to 12 candidates to participate in the challenge. These 12 candidates will be provided with the antibody expression construct and CHO cells. These candidates will then have 1 year to generate and submit a high expression CHO cell line. Submitted cell lines will be tested in a wet lab to determine the antibody yield and to identify the most productive CHO cell lines. Based on that the gold (EUR 20,000), silver (EUR 10,000) and bronze (EUR 5,000) winners will be selected.

Your Benefits

Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany will award a EUR 20,000 prize to the submitter who generated the CHO cell line with the highest production yield (Gold winner). Silver (EUR 10,000) and bronze (EUR 5,000) prizes will be awarded for the second and third highest production yields. Furthermore, the selected participants will have the chance to gain access to potential collaborations within Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, which include access to enabling resources and contacts. Curious to learn who will the winner be? We will announce the winner team across our social media channels – stay tuned!

How does it work?

  • Please register by filling out the “Registration Form”. Additionally, you will need to read and accept the terms and conditions before submitting your registration. Send this completed document as PDF file to open.innovation@emdgroup.com by August 15th, 2018.
  • If you are choosen to participate you will receive a confirmation message by September 15th, 2018.
  • You will then be provided with the antibody expression construct (cDNA of anti HEL lgG1 heavy chain and light chain), CHO cells (CHO-k1), and the protocol that Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany will later use to determine expression yield. You will then have 1 year to generate and submit a high expression CHO cell line. 
  • Submitted cell lines will be tested in a wet lab and if you provided one of the most productive cell lines you will win a prize of EUR 20,000 (gold), EUR 10,000 (silver) or EUR 5,000 (bronze) respectively.
  • In addition, Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany will inform all participants on the integration site of the expression construct in the CHO genome as well as the determined expression yield.
  • Applicants will retain the IP ownership of their submitted cell clone and integration site.
  • Selected participants will be compensated for their research costs with up to EUR 3,000.

Who can apply?

Participating

Anyone as an individual or as a team may compete for the prize. This program is not open to Healthcare Professionals (HCPs).

FAQ

What happens if I submit my CHO cell line after the deadline?

What happens if I submit my CHO cell line after the deadline?

Only cell lines arriving at Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany before the given deadline will be considered.

How long will the competition last?

How long will the competition last?

The competition will last 12 months. The antibody expression construct and the CHO cells will be sent to all participants at the same time.

What feedback will I receive after I have submitted my CHO cell line?

What feedback will I receive after I have submitted my CHO cell line?

Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany will inform all participants on the integration site of the expression construct in the CHO genome as well as the determined expression yield. 

IP and confidentiality?

IP and confidentiality?

Applicants will retain the IP ownership of their submitted cell clone and integration site. All proposals will be handled under confidentiality unless written permission is provided by the submitter. 

What about publicity?

What about publicity?

Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany retains the exclusive right to make any press release or any kind of public communication about the competition and the winning proposal. Confidential details on project content will not be revealed.

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