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Merck KGaA (Merck) and the UK’s Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) have entered a renewed strategic collaboration to discover and develop new therapeutics for treating cancer.

Researchers at the institute’s Centre for Cancer Drug Discovery and Merck will join forces to develop small-molecule inhibitors of a new class of cancer targets.

Both parties will provide staff and financial resources for the multi-target, multi-year partnership.

Merck will also provide funds for nine full-time research positions at the institute.

The latest deal is part of Merck and ICR’s strategy to bring innovation in the discovery of cancer therapies.

ICR Centre for Cancer Drug Discovery director and cancer therapeutics division head, Professor Olivia Rossanese, stated: “As ever we’ll be working together on a range of projects that combine our expertise in drug discovery with our deep biological insights into cancer, with a focus on discovering innovative small-molecule therapeutics.

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“This new agreement demonstrates our commitment to translating our research programmes into the clinic in collaboration with industry partners – of whom we have more than 100 at the ICR – and ultimately to delivering new, life-saving treatments to cancer patients.”

In February 2018, the parties entered a similar collaboration for the discovery and development of cancer therapies, from target discovery to the preclinical drug candidate’s nomination stage.