Open Innovation Initiatives for Global Health

Our long-standing commitment to catalyze research in infectious diseases such as malaria and schistosomiasis.

In our Company, we work to achieve progress for mankind. We use our Science & Technology to address Global Health challenges that affect millions of people around the world.

We have adopted a framework for Open Innovation to accelerate research and development into innovative treatments for infectious diseases. We share access to our proprietary compound library for drug discovery activities to identify new potentially life-changing drugs.

Under this Open Innovation framework, we engage non-profit organizations and academia in both developed and developing countries.  Our Global Health unit, together with External Innovation, drives these collaborative efforts in line with its mission to improve the health of underserved populations in low- and middle-income countries.

Belén Garijo Belén Garijo

We believe in science as a force for good. Which is why we engage in open innovation initiatives for global health that collaboratively accelerate research and development to address unmet medical needs of the developing world.

Belén Garijo

Chair of the Executive Board and CEO of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany

Our main collaborative programs

  • DNDi drug discovery booster:
    Under the leadership of the non-for-profit organization Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi) based in Geneva, since 2017, along with other pharmaceutical companies, we have joined forces to boost the discovery of novel medicines against Chagas disease and leishmaniasis. To reduce time and costs, millions of unique compounds were selected across corporate libraries by means of computational approaches to refine the search iteratively in the hunt for new treatment leads.  This initiative has proven the success of a transformative open innovation model through which participating companies can simultaneously search for new treatments.
    Read more here.

  • Open Innovation: Collaboration through World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) Re:Search
    We have contributed, for six years,to the WIPO Re:Search Consortium co-led by BIO Ventures for Global Health (BVGH) and WIPO, until 2022. This Consortium engaged private industry to early-stage R&D for vaccines, diagnostics and drugs, as well as capacity building, to address the unmet medical needs of the developing world. In particular, the Consortium focused on neglected tropical diseases, malaria and tuberculosis by catalyzing innovation, harnessing the power of public-private partnerships, and making intellectual property and knowledge available to the global health research community.

In May 2020, we launched the Open Global Health Library to catalyze research on infectious diseases. The library has reached all continents and researchers to study a wide panel of infectious diseases.

Read more

Who is behind?

Thomas Spangenberg is a chemist and responsible for global drug discovery activities to shape next generation of antimalarials and identifying new potential treatments to fight schistosomiasis. He completed his doctorate at the universities of Strasbourg and Freiburg-im-Breisgau and was appointed to a postdoctoral position at Harvard University in 2009.

Dr. Thomas Spangenberg Dr. Thomas Spangenberg

Open Innovation represents a great avenue to find new drugs against neglected tropical diseases in a collaborative and sustainable manner.

Thomas Spangenberg

Head of Global Health Drug Discovery and Open Innovation

Global Health Institute, Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany