Merck, Palantir to form JV to advance cancer research
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Merck and Palantir to form JV to advance cancer research

By Hemanth Kumar 20 Nov 2018

Merck has signed a non-binding term sheet to establish a joint venture (JV) with data analytics firm Palantir Technologies to support the advancement of cancer research.

Merck has signed a non-binding term sheet to establish a joint venture (JV) with data analytics firm Palantir Technologies to support the advancement of cancer research.

The JV will be known as Syntropy and will focus on empowering scientists and research centres with data integration, as well as analytics technology to advance cancer research.

Syntropy intends to provide scientists access to biomedical data available with global research institutions and facilitate the collaboration of experts to combat cancer and other diseases.

Merck CEO and executive board chairman Stefan Oschmann said: “The success of science hinges on the ability to act on insights. We expect Syntropy to facilitate collaboration within the global scientific community, in order to drive breakthrough innovation in cancer research.”

The proposed data integration platform will leverage Palantir Foundry, which allows users to structure and analyse data from multiple sources.

Merck said that the platform will enable experts to more quickly act on novel research insights and advance patient care.

“Unlocking the power of scientific data is critical to advancing the fight against cancer.”

Users can collaborate to drive scientific discovery by sharing data with other researchers and institutions. Syntropy expects to ensure control, ownership and traceability of data.

Palantir Technologies co-founder and CEO Alexander Karp said: “Unlocking the power of scientific data is critical to advancing the fight against cancer. Syntropy aims to help researchers collaborate securely to realise the value of this data, driving discoveries that will deliver better treatments to patients faster.”

The transaction comes at a time when healthcare firms are making investments in data analytics technology, Reuters reported.

In July, GlaxoSmithKline made a $300m equity investment in Google-backed gene testing company 23andMe. The companies agreed to collaborate on research and development of innovative new medicines and potential cures.

Earlier this year, Roche bought two US-based cancer data companies, genomic profiling group Foundation Medicine and technology firm Flatiron Health for a total consideration of $4.3bn.