BioMed X Institute Successfully Completes Fourth Project in Oncology in Collaboration with Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany

  • Successful cooperation and a rich set of data lead to the expansion of the project
  • Follow the Heidelberg Cancer Research Project to discover synthetic lethal interactions between DNA repair genes

HEIDELBERG, Germany, November 2, 2021 / B3C newswire / – German Independent Research Institute BioMed X announces today the successful completion of the DNA Damage in Cancer (DDC) research project in collaboration with Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany. As a result of the successful completion of the project, Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany is expanding cooperation for a new research project in the field of oncology. The extension highlights a solid link between the two partners and reflects BioMed X’s experience in biomedical innovation.

The DDC project, sponsored by Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, was launched in 2016. Combining cancer genomics, genetic screening approaches and in vitro studies, the DDC team, led by Dr. Balka Mardin, is working on dissecting synthetic mortality mechanisms. for DNA repair in human cells, which may allow the development of new combination therapies for radiotherapy and chemotherapy. The group has developed CRISPR-Cas9-based assays that will assist in drug detection research. They identified new potential target genes for drugs that will be further studied in preclinical studies at Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, and published five scientific papers in major peer-reviewed journals.

“We wanted to understand the sensitivity or resistance of tumors to different treatment regimens and how inducing defects in the DNA repair machine can be used to selectively target tumors.” Dr. Balka Mardin, leader of the DDC team group, says. “I am now looking forward to consolidating the results of our research at Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany. Following his project at BioMed X, Dr. Mardin continued his career as head of a DNA damage response laboratory at Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany.

The new Synthetic Mortality in DNA Recovery (SDR) project team is led by Dr. Yozdemirhan Sercin, who was a postdoctoral fellow in the DDC team. The group aims to translate new synthetic lethal interactions between DNA repair genes into new therapeutic targets in oncology. By performing targeted pooled screenings in DNA repair gene deficiency cells, the SDR team will seek to identify and characterize new drug targets in DNA repair and DNA replication as a powerful tool for enhancing the efficacy of clinically used DNA damaging agents. .

Dr. Yozdemirhan Serchin, SDR Team Leader: “This is a great opportunity to become a group leader at the BioMed X Institute. Our project has the potential to provide us with new insights for customizing cancer therapy for the benefit of patients.

“The completion of the DDC project marks another milestone in our successful partnership with Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany. Over the past eight years, Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, has initiated and supported eight different research groups at our institute in the fields of oncology, immunooncology and autoimmunity. We look forward to continuing our shared success story for years to come. ” Dr. Christian Tidona, Founder and Managing Director of BioMed X, he says.

concerning BioMed X
BioMed X is an independent research institute located on the campus of the University of Heidelberg in Germany, with a worldwide network of partner sites. Together with our partners, we identify major challenges in biomedical research and offer creative solutions by combining global crowdsourcing with the local incubation of the world’s brightest early research talents. Each of BioMed X’s extremely diverse research teams has access to state-of-the-art research infrastructure and is constantly guided by experienced mentors from academia and industry. At BioMed X, we combine the best of two worlds – academia and industry – and enable revolutionary innovation by making biomedical research more efficient, more flexible and more fun.


Bettina Roman-Lorenz
Communications Manager
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Keywords: people; Synthetic lethal mutations; Radiochemistry; Early detection of cancer; genomics; DNA repair; DNA; Medical oncology; DNA replication; Neoplasms; Genetic testing; Biomedical research; Carcinogenesis; Drug detection; Academies and institutes; Cross-sectoral cooperation; Germany

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