Merck KGaA announced a collaboration agreement with data integration specialist Palantir Technologies to develop and apply data analytics capabilities across Merck KGaA’s Healthcare business sector. The firms say the partnership will help to develop better medicines, speed commercialization, and improve patient outcomes. Initially, Palantir platforms will be applied to Merck KGaA’s cancer treatment and patient services.

Three Healthcare initiatives will be launched. Through a medical research and drug development program, Merck KGaA and Palantir will develop a collaborative data and analytics platform to enable the application of bioinformatics and real-world data in developing patient-targeted treatments. A second global patient intimacy initiative aims to utilize large-scale data sources to increase patient adherence and provide insights into drug efficacy. The global supply chain program will combine Merck KGaA and Palantir’s platforms to improve supply chain forecasting so that drugs will be available globally, when and where they are needed. 

Ultimately, Merck KGaA says it aims to exploit Palantir’s technologies across its three business sectors—healthcare, life science, and performance materials. “As a science and technology company, we are tackling the greatest challenges in healthcare, life science, and performance materials,” said Stefan Oschmann, chairman of the executive board and CEO of Merck KGaA. “Now we are teaming up with Palantir since developing breakthrough technologies requires superior data analytics capabilities, and Palantir optimally complements our skills in that respect.”

Today, Merck KGaA separately reported inking a collaboration with Stanford Graduate School of Business that complements the existing Merck University Program through a new “Leading Innovation and Digitalization at Merck” curriculum. 

The latest agreements with Palantir and Stanford follow Merck KgaA’s drug licensing deal with Vertex Pharmaceuticals, cancer drug research collaboration with MD Anderson Cancer Center, and acquisition of Seattle-based food safety testing firm BioControl Systems, all of which have also been announced since the new year.

Merck is looking to expand its partnerships and collaborations in the U.S. “As a key provider to the digital industry, we already have good ties to technology companies in Silicon Valley,” Oschmann stated. “Over the past 2 weeks, we have expanded our presence here and in other parts of the U.S. by entering into new partnerships and pursuing further business opportunities. We want to foster collaboration across the Atlantic as we strongly believe in the power of partnerships to drive innovation for the benefit of patients and customers.”

Just last month Merck KGaA in addition reported signing a 2-year innovation and digitization collaboration agreement with the European Space Agency (ESA). The December 2016 agreement with ESA represents an extension to a 2011 collaboration, through which ESA’s Darmstadt-based European Space Operations Center (ESOC) helped Merck KGaA with data mining and analytics expertise for a specific pharmaceutical development case. The two organizations subsequently worked on a number of joint projects.

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