Select your country

Africa
Asia
Europe
Latin America
North America
Oceania

Oncology and Immuno-Oncology

We are committed to developing and delivering breakthrough therapies that make a meaningful difference to people living with cancer.


Oncology

We focus on biomarker-driven research to deliver personalized treatments and a transformative, risk-balanced pipeline.

Translational research is embedded in the entire R&D process. With our innovative approach to treatment and novel combinations we address unmet needs in hard-to-treat cancers.

Our pipeline comprises high-quality, selective small molecules, antibodies and antibody-drug conjugates (ADCs). Strong translational research data supports each drug’s clinical development. All are clearly differentiated and have the potential to be best-in-class.

We focus on five innovation clusters:

  • Oncogenic Signaling
  • ADCs
  • DNA Repair
  • Tumor Metabolism
  • Tumor Plasticity

Dedicated to delivering personalized medicine, we are aiming to identify patient populations likely to respond to treatment, guide optimal dosing through the use of pharmacodynamics biomarkers and thereby increase the probability of success in clinical development.

We believes that rational combinations are the key to the future of new and more efficacious treatment options. At our company, we are currently combining our targeted therapies with chemotherapy/radiotherapy, other targeted therapies and/or immunotherapies from our own, our partners’ and other external portfolios.

We recognize that no single organization can achieve these goals alone. We partner with leading academic institutions and innovative biotech innovators to complement our pipeline, strengthen our technology base and enhance our scientific capabilities.

Browse the programs in our pipeline to see what we’re currently working on by phase, therapeutic area, and compound type. You can also see what we’ve discovered in-house versus those assets we’re partnering on with other giants in our industry. Learn more 

Immuno-Oncology

Immuno-oncology (IO) is where immunology and oncology intersect. By harnessing the immune system, IO aims to activate or augment the body’s natural response to fight cancer.

The recent development of IO compounds represents a ‘quantum leap’ for cancer therapy. IO is changing the cancer landscape. We are committed to harnessing this potential to develop new therapies, improve outcomes, and make a real difference to people living with cancer.

Our IO R&D platform follows a science-driven strategy that pursues novel, differentiated therapeutic targets. We focus on:

  • Next generation checkpoint inhibitors to release the brakes on  anti-tumor responses
  • Cancer metabolite modulation to alleviate immunosuppression
  • Modulation of tumor phagocytosis – white blood cells engulfing tumors
  • Innate immune system reprogramming to support antitumor responses
  • Localized co-stimulation of activated T-cells to boost antitumor responses
  • Engagement of T-cells to harness their antitumor potential
  • Researching novel biomarkers in collaboration with academic oncology centers

We operate a translational innovation platform that accelerates the highest-quality science. It includes a portfolio that comprises a transformative pipeline of preclinical molecules and therapeutic candidates in clinical development.

We discovered the majority of our oncology pipeline molecules in-house. But innovation often benefits from broader collaboration. To enhance our expertise, we have created a strong network of alliances with external partners. These include leading thinkers from oncology centers of excellence, as well as industry and biotech innovators from partner organizations.

Browse the programs in our pipeline to see what we’re currently working on by phase, therapeutic area, and compound type. You can also see what we’ve discovered in-house versus those assets we’re partnering on with other giants in our industry. Learn more

Select list of oncology and immuno-oncology collaborations

Ablynx

Ablynx

A multi-year research alliance on co-discovery and co-development of novel biological entities against cancer targets based on Ablynx’s nanobody technology.

Alliance with Pfizer

Alliance with Pfizer

The global strategic alliance with Pfizer enables the companies to benefit from each other’s strengths and capabilities and further explore the therapeutic potential of avelumab. The alliance will jointly develop and commercialize avelumab and advance Pfizer’s PD-1 antibody.

Angiex

Angiex

A collaboration with Angiex aims to support the biotechnology start-up’s ability to speed its lead oncology ADC conjugate therapy candidate to clinical use against a vascular target, TM4SF1.

BioMed X

BioMed X

A funding program in support of research groups at the BioMed X Innovation Center in Heidelberg working on tumor metabolism, DNA damage in cancer and alternative splicing in cancer with the aim to identify novel targets and develop innovative approaches in the respective research areas.

Cancer Research Technology (CRT)

Cancer Research Technology (CRT)

A joint drug discovery partnership with Cancer Research UK’s CRT Discovery Laboratories aims to identify new oncology molecules targeting the Hippo pathway, which has been linked to the development of a range of cancers.

Dako : companion diagnostic

Dako : companion diagnostic

The Alliance with Pfizer and Dako (Agilent) announced a collaboration agreement to develop a companion diagnostic test to assess programmed death-ligand 1 (PD-L1) protein expression levels.

Domain Therapeutics: adenosine receptor antagonists

Domain Therapeutics: adenosine receptor antagonists

An important collaboration and licensing agreement includes the development of adenosine receptor antagonists specifically designed for oncology and immuno-oncology. Adenosine has been identified as a key component in resistance mechanisms for many tumors targeted by immune checkpoint inhibitors.

F-star

F-star

A strategic collaboration with F-star aims to develop and commercialize five bi-specific IO antibodies, molecules that offer the potential advantage of taking a dual approach to tackling cancer.

Illumina: oncology diagnostic

Illumina: oncology diagnostic

strategic alliance with Illumina, Inc., will expand the development of a universal next-generation sequencing based oncology diagnostic for clinical trials of targeted cancer therapies. We have also announced strategic collaborations with Debiopharm, Verastem, Syndax and Vaccinex on individual cancer trials evaluating our compounds in combination with other investigational compounds.

Institute of Cancer Research

Institute of Cancer Research

A joint program between Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, the Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) and Wellcome Trust to develop drug candidates for the treatment of different forms of cancer. The co-development and license agreement builds on two independent research programs at both companies to identify inhibitors of tankyrase.

Intrexon: CAR-Ts

Intrexon: CAR-Ts

collaboration with Intrexon aims to develop and commercialize Chimeric Antigen Receptor T-cell (CAR-T) cancer therapies. This advances our company's comprehensive, science-driven strategy to develop innovative therapies that modulate the immune system's natural ability to fight tumors.

MD Anderson

MD Anderson

A strategic collaboration that aims to more quickly advance the development of our oncology/IO pipeline in four cancers with a goal of multiple registrational studies in novel indications in the coming years.

Mersana

Mersana

A collaboration and license agreement with Mersana to develop next-generation ADCs. Mersana and our company will leverage Mersana’s Fleximer® technology to generate ADCs for multiple targets.

MorphoSys: therapeutic antibodies

MorphoSys: therapeutic antibodies

A strategic IO collaboration with MorphoSys aims to discover and develop therapeutic antibodies against immune checkpoints, applying MorphoSys’ proprietary Ylanthia® antibody phage library and technology platform to identify antibodies against targets of interest. With a strong portfolio and capabilities in the field of IO, we are fully responsible for development from Phase I onwards.

Selvita

Selvita

We entered a 3-year collaboration to validate new therapeutic concepts in the field of oncology with Selvita. The aim of the collaboration is to deliver potential best-in-class small molecules as lead candidate drugs for multiple oncology indications.

Sutro

Sutro

A strategic partnership between Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, and Sutro to develop ADCs, combining our knowledge about target biology with Sutro’s technological and discovery capabilities.

University of Dundee

University of Dundee

A funding program in support of the University of Dundee’s Division of Signal Transduction Therapy (DSTT). Our company – alongside other pharmaceutical companies – supports fundamental research in multiple therapeutics areas including cancer. 

Vertex: DNA damage response

Vertex: DNA damage response

Our company entered a licensing agreement with Vertex Pharmaceuticals for the worldwide development and commercialization of two clinical-stage programs designed to inhibit DNA damage response (DDR) pathways, as well as pre-clinical programs in IO program and against a completely novel target.

Weizmann Institute of Science

Weizmann Institute of Science

A collaboration and licensing partnership that aims to deliver new innovative solutions to address unmet needs in immuno-oncology. We have partnered with Weizmann Institute of Science for almost four decades.

Redirect

You have accessed https://www.emdgroup.com, but for users from your part of the world, we originally designed the following web presence https://www.merckgroup.com.

Let's go

Share Disclaimer

By sharing this content, you are consenting to share your data to this social media provider. More information are available in our Privacy Statement