Merck and Michael J. Fox Foundation Collaborate to Advance Parkinson’s Research with Innovative Biomarker Technology

Merck and Michael J. Fox Foundation Collaborate to Advance Parkinson’s Research with Innovative Biomarker Technology

(IN BRIEF) Merck and The Michael J. Fox Foundation (MJFF) are collaborating to advance Parkinson’s disease research using Merck’s SMCxPRO® immunoassay technology. This initiative aims to detect biomarkers indicating cell dysfunction in PD patients, enhancing research into new treatment options and therapies. The partnership underscores efforts to address the growing impact of PD worldwide, where current treatments manage symptoms but do not halt disease progression.

(PRESS RELEASE) DARMSTADT, 19-Jun-2024 — /EuropaWire/ — Merck, a leading science and technology company, in collaboration with The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research (MJFF), is making strides in Parkinson’s disease (PD) research. Supported by MJFF’s “Biomarkers to Support Therapeutic Trials Program,” Merck’s SMCxPRO® immunoassay technology has been utilized to detect low levels of biomarkers associated with cell dysfunction in PD patients. This service is now available to the scientific community, enhancing the ability to track the effectiveness of different therapeutic options on disease progression.

Jean-Charles Wirth, Head of Science & Lab Solutions at Merck, stated, “Using the SMCxPRO® immunoassay technology to assess cell dysfunction is a significant step forward in developing new treatment options for PD. We are proud to offer this service through support from The Michael J. Fox Foundation, aiming to empower breakthroughs in neuroscience research.”

The research focuses on the biomarker pS65 ubiquitin (pS65-Ub), crucial in understanding cell dysfunction in PD. PD, a neurodegenerative disease, affects specific nerve cells in the brain, with 60% to 80% of these cells lost or impaired by the time motor symptoms appear. The SMCxPRO® immunoassay platform enables the detection of small concentrations of pS65-Ub, allowing scientists to track the impact of therapeutic options on disease progression.

Nicole Polinski, PhD, director of research resources at MJFF, highlighted the importance of this collaboration: “Ultrasensitive assays enable the research of multiple biomarkers involved in disease progression, crucial for diagnosing, stratifying patients, and developing future therapies. Current PD treatments address symptoms but do not slow disease progression. This collaboration aims to improve the quality of life for patients.”

PD affects around 10 million people globally, with its prevalence doubling in the past 25 years, making it the fastest-growing neurological condition. Merck’s contributions to Parkinson’s research have been recognized by CiteAb Awards, as the company with the most citations related to Parkinson’s research in 2023.

This partnership between Merck and MJFF represents a significant advancement in the quest to slow PD progression and develop effective treatments.

About Merck

Merck, a leading science and technology company, operates across life science, healthcare and electronics. Around 63,000 employees work to make a positive difference to millions of people’s lives every day by creating more joyful and sustainable ways to live. From providing products and services that accelerate drug development and manufacturing as well as discovering unique ways to treat the most challenging diseases to enabling the intelligence of devices – the company is everywhere. In 2023, Merck generated sales of € 21 billion in 65 countries.

Scientific exploration and responsible entrepreneurship have been key to Merck’s technological and scientific advances. This is how Merck has thrived since its founding in 1668. The founding family remains the majority owner of the publicly listed company. Merck holds the global rights to the Merck name and brand. The only exceptions are the United States and Canada, where the business sectors of Merck operate as MilliporeSigma in life science, EMD Serono in healthcare, and EMD Electronics in electronics.

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