Open Compound Sourcing*

Share your compounds to be tested on our screening platforms as a first long-term collaboration step.


 

* This program is not open to U.S. healthcare professionals.

Boost the therapeutic potential of your compounds

Through our Open Compound Sourcing initiative, we invite potential partners to submit their compounds to be included in our high throughput screening library and utilized in efforts to identify new therapeutics.

We’re looking for new organic chemical compounds to test in our screening campaigns for potential therapeutic activity. Your compounds would be tested against several targets and disease models. In case of a match, your specific compounds could become the next new chemical entity (NCE) or a starting point for further optimization in one of our strategic therapeutic areas of focus: Oncology,and Immuno-Oncology as well as Autoimmune Disorders.. You will keep all rights to your compounds and in case of interest, we will offer you a follow-up collaboration agreement.

Who can apply?

Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, invites universities, research institutes and private companies to register to participate in the Open Compound Sourcing Initiative. After registration, participants will sign a “Participation and Material Supply Agreement (P&MSA)”. The agreement will cover the legal, intellectual property and commercial aspects of transferring your organic compounds to Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany.

This program is not open to U.S. healthcare professionals.

 

How does it work?

After having a P&MSA in place, we screen your compounds in-silico. We therefore need the compound structure as SD-file (See in FAQs, if you have questions to this). In a second step, we will ask you to provide the compounds selected based on the in-silico
screen. These compounds would then be included in the screening library for pharmaceutical activity testing. In case of hits, we will contact you to discuss the potential follow-up collaboration.       

Your benefits

For each compound accepted for inclusion in our screening library, participants will receive €100 per compound.

If a compound qualifies as a hit during our screening campaigns, participants will be further compensated according to the terms of the P&MSA. At that time, participants will be contacted about partnership opportunities.

By participating in our Open Compound Sourcing, your molecule could become a much-needed therapy, helping to transform the lives of patients with serious unmet medical needs, or a promising starting point for further chemical optimization to achieve that goal.

How to apply

Please contact us to request the P&MSA document. You will then be asked to fill out and submit the P&MSA document via e-mail. We will then review the document and contact you regarding next steps for compound provision. Before registering, please read the FAQ below,.

 

FAQs

How can I participate in the Open Compound Sourcing program?

How can I participate in the Open Compound Sourcing program?

Before registering to participate in this program, please confirm with your institution as to whether an agreement already exists between us and your institution, contact us to enquire about such an agreement.

If such an agreement already exists, we ask you to provide us with a standard letter signed by you and your institution, in which your participation in the said program is approved. The template for such a standard letter is part of the agreement between Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, and your institution.

If such an agreement does not yet exist, we will be happy to provide the necessary information and documents to your institution. Alternatively, please feel free to contact the responsible function/person at your institution and encourage them to get in touch with us (please send requests to open.innovation@emdgroup.com).    

Can I participate in the program as a private individual?

Can I participate in the program as a private individual?

If you are legally the owner of the compounds, you can participate in the program. However, if you are an employee e.g. in an academic institution, then, in many cases, your employer (e.g. the institution) is the legal owner of the compounds and therefore the correct contract partner. Because this may vary between different institutions or countries, we kindly request that you check with your institution first as to whether you or your institution would be the correct partner for the Participation & Material Transfer Agreement (P&MSA).

In the case that you wish to participate as an individual in the program, you must provide proper documentation of your legal ownership of the compounds you submit to us.

 

Can the P&MSA be amended or adapted to the requirements of my institution?

Can the P&MSA be amended or adapted to the requirements of my institution?

The P&MSA has been set up to accommodate the needs of both partners, including provisions for intellectual property rights and inventor rights, commercial use and financial compensation. Thus, the agreement should be acceptable to the majority of (academic as well as
commercial) institutions and potential partners.

Any request for amendments or alterations lengthens the application process and delays the submission of the compounds.

How do I provide the compound structures for your initial evaluation?

How do I provide the compound structures for your initial evaluation?

Structures of compounds (as the respective salt form, if applicable) intended for submission have to be provided in the Structure Data (SD) file format (see reference). Please ensure that the structures are submitted in the proper file format; we cannot set up SD files for you.

Submission of compound structures in formats others than the SD file format will result in rejection of the application without assessment of the content–making you ineligible for compensation.

How do I generate and submit a Structure Data (SD) file?

How do I generate and submit a Structure Data (SD) file?

Set-up of an SD file is provided as an export format by nearly all standard chemistry software packages (compare here). You can check whether the upload will be successful on the PubChem structure search website. In order to keep the file size to a minimum, we recommend uploading a zipped or gzipped SD file.

Where can I find free software for generating SD files?

Where can I find free software for generating SD files?

Many software packages for drawing (organic) chemical structures–found online and available free of charge for academic employees– allow the export of the structures in SD file format.

The US government website also lists software for working with SD files    

Are there guidelines for drawing and transferring the chemical structures to a SD file?

Are there guidelines for drawing and transferring the chemical structures to a SD file?

  • Include salt forms in the structure
  • Avoid overlaying structures on top of each other
  • Draw only one structure per entry (plus respective salt molecules, if applicable)
  • Any counter ions of salt forms should be drawn explicitly in the structure
  • So called “super atoms” (abbreviations like “iPr”, “OEt”, “NMe2“, etc.) should be replaced by explicitly drawn atoms

Is additional data required for submission, and in which file format?

Is additional data required for submission, and in which file format?

Structures should be arranged in one SD file per submission. In order to identify compounds in any correspondence with you, a unique alphanumerical identifier (structure name or your individual compound ID) must be assigned to each structure as an SD file data field.

 

What happens to the data in the SD file after I have submitted the file?

What happens to the data in the SD file after I have submitted the file?

The compound structures provided will be subjected to an internal review process in order to determine whether the submitted compounds fulfill the requirements listed in Attachment 1 of the P&MSA (see below for a respective listing), i.e. comply with the criteria outlined below. They will also be checked against internal as well as commercial compound data bases.

Based upon the outcome of this evaluation, you will receive an email detailing the compound(s) we are interested in obtaining from you, as well as detailed information on how to proceed with physically shipping the compound(s) to us.

What are the requirements to be eligible for submission?

What are the requirements to be eligible for submission?

Structures submitted should show the following property profile:

  • Small organic compound with molecular weight between 150 and 450
  • No inorganic elements (except usual counter ions)
  • Not part of publicly available databases or vendor catalogues
  • Symmetry < C2v
  • A minimum of three N or O atoms 
  • Less than 50% of heavy atoms being N or O
  • Log of calculated solubility in water at pH 7.4 in mol/l (LogS74 mol/l) > -6
  • Obeying Lipinski's Rule-of-Five (max one violation of the following conditions: Molecular weight ≤500, LogP ≤5, number of H-bond acceptors ≤10, number of H-bond donors ≤5. For a reference, see here)
  • No pharmacologically undesirable substructures contained (not disclosed here)

Furthermore, compounds intended for submission should fulfill the following conditions:

  • Crystalline powder (oils will not be accepted)
  • Purity should be equal to or exceeding 90 %
  • No cooling required
  • No biologicals, no natural compounds, no extracts
  • No mixtures
  • No known toxicity
  • No radioactive compounds

How are the submitted structures handled after submission?

How are the submitted structures handled after submission?

These structures will only be used for the in-silico evaluation of these compounds. At this stage, the compound structures are kept at a server separate from our screening library and will not be used for purposes other than running our initial assessment. 

How do I ship the compounds to Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany?

How do I ship the compounds to Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany?

In order to ensure proper shipping and handling of the compounds, we will provide you with glass vials, which can also be used in our weighing and dissolution routing. We will cover all costs of the shipment of these vials to you and also for the transfer of the vials plus the respective amounts of the accepted compounds. The transfer will be arranged by internationally working carriers (e.g. FedEx). We will inform you ahead of time of any shipment to you or vial pick-up.

What is the turn-around time following submission of my compound structures?

What is the turn-around time following submission of my compound structures?

We aim to provide you with our assessment of the electronically-submitted compound structures within 14 days of your submission, provided we do not experience problems with the submitted SD file.

Physically-shipped compounds will be checked within one month of receiving them at our premises to establish whether they fulfill the requirements in terms of purity and physicochemical properties.

If compounds pass this check, they will be incorporated into our compound screening library and will be assessed in our normal high-through-put screening campaigns. At this point, you will be entitled to financial compensation as outlined in paragraph VI of the P&MSA.

Can I obtain the biological data generated with my compounds?

Can I obtain the biological data generated with my compounds?

We do not plan to share biological data at this time. 

What happens if my compounds are active in your screening campaigns?

What happens if my compounds are active in your screening campaigns?

Based upon the outcome of your compounds, you might be offered a collaboration and development agreement (see details in the P&MSA).

If your compounds qualify as hits, you might be entitled to additional financial compensations for up to 20.000 Euros. TheP&MSA specifies these details. 

Can I use my own vials? Can I send compounds directly to Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany?

Can I use my own vials? Can I send compounds directly to Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany?

We will only accept compounds sent in the vials we provide. Please refrain from sending any compounds directly to our Darmstadt site. 

How much of the compound(s) do I have to provide you with?

How much of the compound(s) do I have to provide you with?

As outlined in the P&MSA, we ask for 10 mg of the respective compound. If smaller amounts are received, we reserve the right to reduce the financial compensation accordingly.

What happens to my compound(s) after physically shipping them to you, if they do not pass

What happens to my compound(s) after physically shipping them to you, if they do not pass

Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, at its sole discretion, decides whether or not to return compounds that were rejected due to inadequate physicochemical properties. Financial compensation will be paid for compounds not returned to the submitter.

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