(AWP / Reuters) Pharmaceutical companies and specialty chemicals Merck expands collaboration with big data specialist Palantir and intends to enter new business opportunities. Both companies want to establish joint ventures to provide customers with software to analyze data from cancer research. Merck launches new subsidiaries for this purpose, half of which are participating in joint ventures. The other half must lie with US security and software companies. Both companies have worked together since the beginning of 2017, and to date, as Palantir customers, Merck has used California technology in the field of cancer therapy and patient care.
With a joint venture called Syntropy, drug manufacturers based in Darmstadt now go further: "Our customers use license fees to acquire software and use it to collect and analyze their own data from various sources," Merck CEO Stefan Oschmann explained Reuters. Syntropy will allow customers to share this information with others. "But we don't buy data and don't sell it," Oschmann said. "We make tools for scientists, and also software and data analysis are tools for scientists." As a potential customer, he has in mind, especially the major cancer research center, the discussion with this is relatively far away.
Palantir is considered one of the most mysterious companies in Silicon Valley. The company, which was founded in 2004 by German businessman and former Paypal CEO Peter Thiel, collects data and works with the government, among others. Palantir is also said to have contributed to the fact that the US Army has tracked down former Al-Qaeda leader Usamah bin Laden. The company is considering, according to media reports, the IPO and thus could be worth up to $ 41 billion.
According to Palantir CEO Alexander Karp, Merck is the exclusive partner of software companies in the pharmaceutical sector. Drug makers have an extensive network of science, biotechnology and pharmaceutical customers through the life sciences business, which offers around 300,000 drug discovery products. Syntropy is expected to be headquartered in Boston, but the two companies do not comment on investment volumes.
In the pharmaceutical industry, companies are competing to find information that is now available electronically and therefore can be evaluated on target. In the process, the industry has received support from technology companies for a long time: Roche alone spent $ 4.3 billion this year on the acquisition of a cancer data specialist at the Flatiron Health and Medicine Foundation. British pharmaceutical company Glaxo Smith Kline took over $ 300 million in shares in the California genetic testing company 23andMe. The pharmaceutical industry expects this investment to improve drug discovery and accelerate the development of new drugs.