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Merck Serono awards € 20,000 to Innovation Cup Winners



Merck Serono Innovation Cup 2015 awards novel idea for a new innovative hypoxia activated prodrug approach for the treatment of cancer

Merck Serono, the biopharmaceutical business of Merck, recently announced the winners of the 2015 Innovation Cup – a programme that underscores the company’s commitment to developing the next generation of biopharmaceutical talents and discovering promising approaches to new medicines. An oncology team, consisting of PhD and post-doctoral researchers, won the Innovation Cup trophy and € 20,000 for their idea to create an innovative hypoxia activated prodrug approach for the treatment of cancer.

The members of the 2015 Innovation Cup Winning Team are Francis Hunter from University of Auckland, Wang Shan from Tsinghua University, Jia Lin from Tsinghua University, Kshitij Srivastava from German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ), Heidelberg, Sotirios Sotiriou from University of Geneva, Oliver Thorn-Seshold from LMU München, Arne Sutter, the coach.

During a week-long Innovation Summer Camp, 31 participants gathered to learn the essentials of drug discovery and development in a highly stimulating and competitive environment. Working together in six teams of high diversity, students generated new ideas in the areas of oncology, immuno-oncology, autoimmune diseases, chemo- and bioengineering, medical devices/electronic health and innovations for emerging markets, receiving guidance and support from Merck Serono coaches to turn their ideas into business plans. At the end of the week, teams presented their proposals to a jury consisting of senior Merck managers and external experts.

Dr Ulrich Betz, Department Head Innovation & Entrepreneurship Incubator at Merck Serono, initiator and manager of the Innovation Cup said, “For the fifth year in a row, we are excited to work with bright young students from around the world to uncover the next great innovation in medical science. Participants are given the opportunity to work with Merck Serono professionals and to learn how drugs are successfully discovered, developed and brought to market to benefit patients in need.”

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