Merck, a leading science and technology company, today announced that it has entered into a set of agreements with Evotec AG, whereby Evotec AG will provide screening services for Merck’s collection of genetic reagents such as CRISPR and shRNA libraries. Combining access to these libraries with Evotec’s screening expertise offers an accelerated pathway to explore and identify new drug targets. “Drug discovery starts with the identification of new targets, a process that can be time- and labor-intensive,” said Theresa Creasey, Head of Applied Solutions Strategic Marketing & Innovation, Life Science. “Our collaboration with Evotec accelerates the discovery workflow, enabling customers to more rapidly and efficiently explore disease pathways and find new targets.” The collaboration allows customers to select a customized set of CRISPR and shRNA libraries, and then leverage Evotec’s extensive capabilities in phenotypic screening within primary and induced pluripotent stem cells and in vivo disease models. The target identification workflow is further accelerated through the use of customengineered cell lines developed by Merck’s Cell Design Studio. These cell lines are used by Evotec to customize screening assays and deliver answers more efficiently.
“This agreement with Merck further strengthens our offering in the area of target identification and validation,” said Mario Polywka, PhD, Chief Operating Officer of Evotec. “Deploying Merck’s assay-ready reagents on our cellular screening platforms and in vivo models creates powerful drug discovery capabilities and more value to our customers through such a comprehensive solution.” Merck partners with the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute for its arrayed CRISPR library covering the entire human genome. The company is also the manufacturer and distributor of the world’s largest RNAi clone library, created in collaboration with The RNAi Consortium.