MS Society teams with Merck KGaA on $19M R&D pact

Merck KGaA is funneling $19 million into a joint research project between one of its subsidiaries--EMD Serono--and the National Multiple Sclerosis Society to fast-track new therapies for MS. The deal starts as a two-year R&D pact with an option to extend it by another three years. 

Under the deal, EMD Serono will join hands with Fast Forward, a subsidiary of the MS Society that partners on new technologies aimed at treating the disease. Together, they'll pick a group of MS development projects to work on, with the German parent company footing the bill for early-stage clinical development work as well as work done by individual researchers and academic groups. Fast Forward will soon solicit research proposals with the first money going out in December.

"Identification of innovative opportunities to change the MS treatment paradigm is a critical aspect of addressing this disease. We are pleased to bring to this alliance not only its financial support, but our years of expertise and commitment in the field of MS research and development," said Bernhard Kirschbaum, PhD, EVP of global research and development for Merck Serono.

- check out Merck KGaA's release
- read the Mass High Tech report