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News Release

March 14, 2019
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Zhejiang University Joins Merck’s CRISPR Core Partnership Program

  • Merck’s global network of more than 80 CRISPR core partners promote ethical scientific exploration with genome editing via access to company’s network of experts
  • Zhejiang University is first in China to use Merck’s Arrayed CRISPR Library

Hangzhou, China, March 14, 2019 — Merck, a leading science and technology company, today announced a CRISPR core partnership with Zhejiang University in Hangzhou, China. Zhejiang University will be the first institution in China to use Merck’s Arrayed CRISPR Library, which will assist in the discovery of the relevance of specific genes in biological functions. The library provides the flexibility and adaptability researchers need, including the ability to be used in high-content screening.

“Our CRISPR Core Partnership Program provides researchers from leading institutions with a platform to actively promote ethical scientific exploration via access to Merck’s dedicated technical support, prestigious network of experts, the strongest collection of intellectual property in the life science industry and the latest CRISPR technologies,” said Udit Batra, member of the Merck Executive Board and CEO, Life Science. “As a leader in advancing genome editing in biological research and medicine, we look forward to collaborating with Zhejiang University in accordance with the Merck CRISPR bioethics policy.”

Merck’s CRISPR Core Partnership Program is a network of commercial and research scientists that brings together the top CRISPR academic and commercial institutions in the world to share intellectual resources.

"It is essential for us to be connected to an international network of global collaboration,” said Luo, Jianhong, vice principal of Zhejiang University. “Joining Merck’s CRISPR Core Partnership Program gives us the opportunity to work with leading gene-editing scientists and professionals who have the same purpose. We will benefit from the collaboration and the exchange of knowledge and experience.”

Merck recognizes that genome editing has resulted in major advancements in biological research and medicine. At the same time, the growing potential of genome-editing technologies has opened scientific, legal and societal concerns. As both a user and supplier of genome-editing technology, Merck supports research with genome editing under careful consideration of ethical and legal standards. Merck has established an independent, external Bioethics Advisory Panel to provide guidance for research in which its businesses are involved, including research on or using genome editing. The company has developed, defined and transparently published a clear operational position taking into account scientific and societal issues to inform promising therapeutic approaches for use in research and applications.

The Life Science business of Merck has secured patents in Australia, China, Canada, Europe, Israel, Singapore, and South Korea covering foundational CRISPR technology. Some of these CRISPR patents are directed to chromosomal integration or cutting of the DNA sequence in eukaryotic cells and insertion of a synthetic exogenous sequence to produce the desired genomic change. Scientists use CRISPR technology to replace disease-associated mutations with beneficial or functional sequences — a critical technology for creating disease models and producing new gene therapy solutions. Other patents are directed to paired nickase technology, which improves CRISPR’s ability to fix diseased genes while not affecting healthy ones. Merck recently received its first CRISPR-related patent in the U.S. for proxy-CRISPR technology, which helps modify difficult-to-access regions of the genome, increasing genome coverage.

For more information on Merck’s work in genome editing, click here.

About Merck’s CRISPR Core Partnership Program

Introduced in 2014, Merck’s CRISPR Core Partnership Program is the first of its kind, providing a networking platform for genome-editing experts in the Life Science industry, as well as dedicated technical support and collaboration opportunities with Merck’s R&D team. Through the program, scientists at partner core facilities are given exclusive access to Merck’s CRISPR reagents and other innovative products in support of their research.

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About Merck

Merck, a leading science and technology company, operates across healthcare, life science and performance materials. Around 52,000 employees work to make a positive difference to millions of people’s lives every day by creating more joyful and sustainable ways to live. From advancing gene- editing technologies and discovering unique ways to treat the most challenging diseases to enabling the intelligence of devices – Merck is everywhere. In 2018, Merck generated sales of €14.8 billion in 66 countries.

Scientific exploration and responsible entrepreneurship have been key to Merck’s technological and scientific advances. This is how Merck has thrived since its founding in 1668. The founding family remains the majority owner of the publicly listed company. Merck holds the global rights to the “Merck” name and brand. The only exceptions are the United States and Canada, where the business sectors operate as EMD Serono in healthcare, MilliporeSigma in life science, and EMD Performance Materials.