Policy & Regulation
Harvard, Merck to Collaborate on Research Led by Harvard immunologist Arlene Sharpe, seeking to Identify New Pathways for the Treatment of Cancer
13 August 2019 - - US-based Harvard University and US-based drugmaker Merck (NYSE: MRK) are launching a collaboration that will provide significant research funding for up to four years to support immuno-oncology research led by Arlene Sharpe, MD, PhD, at Harvard Medical School, the principals said.

Sharpe, the George Fabyan Professor of Comparative Pathology and chair of the HMS Department of Immunology, will collaborate with researchers at Merck on a major project aiming to discover novel aspects of the immune system that may be targeted in future treatments for cancer.

The funding will support the work of scientists in the lab of Dr. Sharpe, who is a renowned leader in the field of tumor immunology.

She is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Medicine, and the recipient of numerous awards including the Warren Alpert Foundation Prize in 2017 for her contributions to the discovery of the PD-1 pathway.

Under the agreement spearheaded by Harvard's Office of Technology Development, Merck will have the option to negotiate an exclusive license to innovations arising from the research collaboration to develop these discoveries toward potential treatments for patients.

Harvard Office of Technology Development promotes the public good by fostering innovation and translating new inventions made at Harvard University into useful products that are available and beneficial to society.

Its integrated approach to technology development comprises sponsored research and corporate alliances, intellectual property management, and technology commercialization through venture creation and licensing.

More than 70 startups have launched to commercialise Harvard technologies in the past five years, collectively raising more than USD 1.5bn in financing. To further bridge the academic-industry development gap, Harvard OTD manages the Blavatnik Biomedical Accelerator and the Physical Sciences and Engineering Accelerator.
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