Pharma Focus Asia

M2GEN Announces New Collaboration with Merck to Advance Cancer Therapies

Thursday, March 18, 2021

M2GEN, a leading oncology-focused data and informatics company, announced today a significant new five-year agreement with Merck, known as MSD outside the United States and Canada. Under the terms of the agreement, M2GEN will provide valuable patient-consented, de-identified, linked clinical and genomic data in support of Merck's oncology efforts.

This data will be accessed through M2GEN's Oncology Research Information Exchange Network® (ORIEN®), a network of 18 leading cancer centers across the United States. ORIEN Avatar® is a collaboration between this network, pharmaceutical companies and M2GEN, which manages the program. Patients donate clinical and molecular data through their consent to the Total Cancer Care® research protocol; that data follows patients pre-and post-treatment and is then utilized by the ORIEN cancer center members and pharmaceutical partners to speed discoveries and match eligible patients to cutting-edge trials. The program represents an unprecedented, pre-competitive approach to fighting cancer, designed to accelerate the discovery and development of novel therapies for patients around the world.

Merck's participation in the program builds on a history of collaboration dating back to the founding of M2GEN in 2006, when the companies operationalized a multi-year agreement based on the Total Cancer Care protocol. The collaboration with M2GEN has provided important utility in Merck's oncology development programs including indications for KEYTRUDA® (pembrolizumab).

"Merck has been a key strategic partner to M2GEN since helping to found the Total Cancer Care protocol 15 years ago, and we are very proud of what we have accomplished together," said M2GEN President and CEO Helge Bastian, PhD. "We greatly value Merck's long-term partnership and see tremendous potential in it for the future."

"We see this new partnership as an important milestone in the fight against cancer," said Sandra E. Peterson, Chair of the M2GEN Board of Directors. "We are thrilled to expand our collaboration with Merck to enable the development of more effective medicines and patient care."

"Our work with M2GEN yielded valuable insights that have informed our oncology development strategy," said Dr. Eric Rubin, SVP Oncology Clinical Development, Merck Research Laboratories. "We look forward to continuing our collaboration and building on our shared commitment to improving cancer care."

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