Merck Serono Announces Creation of Oncology Chair in Partnership with EPFL

By Merck Serono S A, PRNE
Tuesday, September 6, 2011

GENEVA, Switzerland, September 7, 2011 -


 - The creation of the Chair is part of a broader research partnership with EPFL

 - The Chair will be headed by Prof. Douglas Hanahan, a world-renowned researcher in molecular oncology

Merck Serono, a division of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, announced today the establishment of the Merck Serono-endowed oncology Chair, as part of the research partnership signed with the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL) in October 2007. This Chair is led by Prof. Douglas Hanahan, a renowned specialist in fundamental and translational cancer research, Professor of Molecular Oncology at EPFL and Director of the Swiss Institute for Experimental Cancer Research (ISREC). The Chair will investigate the role of the microenvironment in tumor development and progression, and the prospects for applying knowledge of cancer mechanisms to the development of its therapeutic targeting.

“We are delighted to build on our existing partnership with one of the world’s leading institutes of scientific and technical expertise to develop key translational projects in oncology,” said Dr. Bernhard Kirschbaum, Executive Vice-President of Global Research & Early Development at Merck Serono. “We expect this project to significantly contribute to the progress of basic research in oncology, an area of high unmet needs”.

This scientific partnership with EPFL has already allowed the implementation of many transdisciplinary scientific collaborations, including the ‘Prof. Patrick Fraering’s Chair’ and various research projects in neurosciences, including in Parkinson’s disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and multiple sclerosis. Several scientific papers and abstracts have already been published or presented on these topics, such as results on imaging technologies as well as on the validation of specific targets and/or pathways involved in disease processes, e.g. describing critical steps for future drug developments.

About EPFL

EPFL is one of the two Ecoles Polytechniques fédérales in Switzerland. It has three missions: education, research and technology transfer at the highest international level. In its idyllic location on the shores of Lake Geneva, EPFL brings together a campus of more than 10,000 people. It offers 13 complete study programs at the Bachelor’s and Master’s levels in engineering, basic sciences, computer and communication sciences, life sciences, civil engineering, architecture and the environment. With more than 250 laboratories and research groups on campus, EPFL is one of Europe’s most innovative and productive technology institutes.

For more information, please visit

About Merck Serono

Merck Serono is the biopharmaceutical division of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, a global pharmaceutical and chemical company. Headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland, Merck Serono discovers, develops, manufactures and markets prescription medicines of both chemical and biological origin in specialist indications. In the United States and Canada, EMD Serono operates as a separately incorporated affiliate of Merck Serono.

Merck Serono has leading brands serving patients with cancer (Erbitux®, cetuximab), multiple sclerosis (Rebif®, interferon beta-1a), infertility (Gonal-f®, follitropin alfa), endocrine and metabolic disorders (Saizen® and Serostim®, somatropin), (Kuvan®, sapropterin dihydrochloride), (Egrifta®, tesamorelin), as well as cardiometabolic diseases (Glucophage®, metformin), (Concor®, bisoprolol), (Euthyrox®, levothyroxine). Not all products are available in all markets.

With an annual R&D expenditure of over € 1bn, Merck Serono is committed to growing its business in specialist-focused therapeutic areas including neurodegenerative diseases, oncology, fertility and endocrinology, as well as new areas potentially arising out of research and development in rheumatology.

About Merck

Merck is a global pharmaceutical and chemical company with total revenues of € 9.3 billion in 2010, a history that began in 1668, and a future shaped by more than 40,000 employees in 67 countries. Its success is characterized by innovations from entrepreneurial employees. Merck’s operating activities come under the umbrella of Merck KGaA, in which the Merck family holds an approximately 70% interest and free shareholders own the remaining approximately 30%. In 1917 the U.S. subsidiary Merck & Co. was expropriated and has been an independent company ever since.

For more information, please visit or

Merck Serono S.A. - Geneva,
9 Chemin des Mines, 1202 Genève, Suisse,
Media relations, Tel: +41 22 414 36 00

will not be displayed