The Merck Group’s Cell Design Studio has been developing cell lines for drug discovery for the past 10 years, but moved to partner with the German CRO.
The deal is to provide new drug discovery programmes using Evotec’s screening platforms and indication expertise – including its previous experience with the CRISPR-Cas9 gene-editing technology.
Merck originally acquired patents for genetic reagents – including shRNA and viral CRISPR libraries - for gene-editing when it bought Sigma-Aldrich last year.
Evotec will leverage these reagents in its induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) platforms to hunt for new drug targets.
COO of Evotec – Mario Polywka – said in a statement “Deploying Merck's assay-ready reagents on our cellular screening platforms and in vivo models creates powerful capabilities in the area of target ID.”
Financials were not disclosed.