Merck Serono to research neurodegenerative diseases

Will work with San Raffaele Scientific Institute in Milan

Merck Serono, the biopharmaceutical division of Merck KGaA, of Darmstadt, Germany, is to collaborate with the Institute of Experimental Neurology (INSpe) and the Department of Neurology of the San Raffaele Scientific Institute (Milan, Italy) to advance clinical research projects in multiple sclerosis and neurodegenerative diseases.

The collaboration follows previous agreements, initially started in 2004, and extends the partnership for three years. It will provide support for basic science research at INSpe to further the understanding of multiple sclerosis and develop new potential treatments for neurodegenerative diseases.

The San Raffaele Scientific Institute will provide its expertise and models to evaluate the effectiveness of the compounds developed by Merck Serono in preclinical and clinical studies in patients. Merck Serono will also fund active doctoral programmes in this area of research. Financial details were not disclosed.

‘This collaboration follows our commitment to build a network of alliances with clinical research institutions to ensure a constant flow of innovation into our organisation,’ said Bernhard Kirschbaum, executive vice president for global r&d at Merck Serono.

Giancarlo Comi, director of INSpe and the Department of Neurology of the San Raffaele Scientific Institute, said: ‘This agreement extends a positive and productive collaboration and opens up great opportunities associated with the complementary skills possessed by the two contracting parties.’