Darmstadt, Germany, September 10, 2017 - Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, a leading science and technology company, today announced recipients of the fourth annual Grant for Oncology Innovation (GOI) awards. The three winners of this prestigious program were awarded €1 million in total to progress their research. The winners were announced at a formal award ceremony earlier today to coincide with the 2017 annual European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO 2017) Congress in Madrid, Spain.

Recipients of the 2017 GOI award are:
Renata Maria Grifantini, National Institute of Molecular Genetics, Milan, Italy, for her proposal: “Novel targets of tumor-infiltrating CD4+ regulatory T-cells for immunotherapy”
Alena Gros Vidal, Vall d’Hebron Institute of Oncology, Vall d’Hebron Hospital, Barcelona, Spain, for her proposal: “Personalized non-invasive T-cell therapies targeting the mutanome”
Anguraj Sadanandam and Naureen Starling, Institute of Cancer Research, London and Royal Marsden Hospital, London, UK, for their proposal: “Characterizing the evolution of metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC) and its immune microenvironment for therapeutic vulnerability”

Chosen from a total of 100 applicants worldwide, and judged by a fully independent scientific steering committee of internationally renowned oncology experts, the winning proposals were selected based on relevance to patient care, innovative approach, scientific impact, feasibility and relevance for the personalization of treatment.

“Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, is deeply committed to innovating cancer care. The Grant for Oncology Innovation program enables us to recognize and assist talented and inspiring researchers in advancing creativity and innovation in oncology research, where unmet medical need remains enormous, and patients desperately need advances in their hope for a cure,” said Steven Hildemann, Chief Medical Officer and Head of Global Patient Safety at the biopharma business of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany. “Each year we are continually impressed with the exceptional quality of scientific proposals and the caliber of applicants for this program. We congratulate this year’s winners, and all applicants, for their dedication to continually push the boundaries of cancer research.”

Research results from several past award recipients were also presented at the ceremony, where the achievements and benefits that the program has already generated were celebrated.

Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, is committed to rewarding innovation and new thinking that could further advance the field of medicine. Since 2014, the company has awarded a total of €4 million to further research in oncology through the Grant for Oncology Innovation award. More information about the program can be found online at: http://www.grantforoncologyinnovation.org