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Sep 15, 2010

Merck & Co. and BGI Intend to Work Together to Advance Genomics in Medicine

  • Merck & Co. and BGI signed a statement of intent to initiate and develop a working relationship. Both parties intend to build infrastructure to support collaboration in areas such as biomarkers, target validation, and drug de-risking and development.  

    "This statement of intent is an initial step designed to bring together Merck's expertise in pharmaceutical development with the powerful sequencing and bioinformatics capabilities of BGI," says Peter S. Kim, president of Merck Research Laboratories. 

    The companies will explore areas of mutual interest in healthcare research and discovery by leveraging genomic information. The agreement establishes desired principles of cooperation that Merck and BGI could use to develop separate master agreements and projects. This includes setting up of mutual offices in proximity to their respective facilities in the U.S. and China to enable closer collaboration.

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MDMA (commonly known as the empathogen “ecstasy”) is classified as a Schedule 1 drug, which is reserved for compounds with no accepted medical use and a high abuse potential. Two researchers from Stanford, however, call for a rigorous scientific exploration of MDMA's effects to identify precisely how the drug works, the data from which could be used to develop therapeutic compounds.

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