Building a long-term partnership with Merck

Since 2015, Karolinska Institutet and Merck KGaA, a vibrant science and technology company, have been working together to build joint programmes in the fields of oncology, immuno-oncology and immunology.

By now, this collaboration has resulted in a number of projects involving different research groups and departments at Karolinska Institutet:


  • Biomarkers for Auto-immune disorders applying advanced Mass Spectrometry analytic technologies
    Principal Investigator: Marie Wahren-Herlenius, Department of Medicine, Solna

  • Immune cell anti-tumor activity
    Principal Investigator: Evren Alici, Department of Medicine, Huddinge

  • Hypoxia in Tumor Metabolism
    Principal Investigator: Randall Johnson, Department of cell and Molecular Biology


  • Developmental biology signaling cascades in cancer
    Principal Investigator: Urban Lendahl, Department of cell and Molecular Biology

  • Biomarkers for Auto-Immune disease stage monitoring
    Principal Investigator: Iva Gunnarsson & Elisabet Svenungsson, Department of Medicine, Solna

  • MS treatment response profiling
    Principal Investigator: Fredrik Piehl & Tomas Olsson, Department of Clinical Neuroscience

Being worked up:

  • Tuning and regulation of immunce cell education
    Principal Investigator: Kalle Malmberg, Department of Medicine, Solna

  • Extension of developmental biology signaling cascades in cancer
    Principal Investigator: Urban Lendahl, Department of cell and Molecular Biology 

The philosophy behind these collaboration projects is to build a true partnership and scientific interaction between academic and corporate researchers. As part of this, the scientific research plans are always discussed jointly as well as the interpretation and value of the data and results obtained.

The collaboration is built upon a flexible approach allowing the entire value-chain from scientific publications, patent generation and licensing options jointly for both parties.

In February 2019 the first Merck-KI Science Day took place at the Merck headquarters in Darmstadt. The purposes of this day were to strengthen the current collaboration and to allow open discussions regarding potential new joint programmes between scientists from the Karolinska Institutet and the employees from Merck.

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