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3 March, 2021 - 20:21 By Tony Quested

Cambridge Cancer Genomics chosen for Merck Accelerator

Cambridge Cancer Genomics, a Y Combinator backed startup building the software to enable data-driven personalised cancer medicine, has joined The Merck Accelerator – fighting off fierce global competition to take its place in the coveted pantheon.

CCG.ai was chosen alongside 11 other startups from 503 applicants across 65 countries. More than 200 Merck experts with a variety of specialisms were involved in the strategic selection of the 12 startups with the highest potential for collaboration.

Merck, a leading science and technology company, designed the accelerator (now in its 8th intake) to establish collaborations and partnerships with startups. 

CCG.ai’s participation in the programme will allow the business to work closely with Merck’s highly experienced team to co-create, conduct pilot projects and run proof of concepts. The collaboration will hopefully lead to both companies becoming first movers in the field of data-driven precision oncology. 

Dr John Cassidy, CEO of Cambridge Cancer Genomics, says: “We believe that uniting AI with clinical and genomic data has the potential to transform cancer treatment, and are incredibly excited to have the opportunity to work closely with Merck: their wealth of experience in bringing science and health technologies to market will be immensely valuable in getting our technology into the hands of those that will most benefit from it.”

Each team will receive individual support and coaching from experts within the Merck network as well as up to €50,000 in funding and the opportunity to join the Merck China Innovation Hub in Shanghai for an extension of the program. 

Munya Chivasa, Head of the Merck Accelerator adds: “Working with startups has brought numerous opportunities to different areas of Merck and we are constantly adapting and evolving these programs to make them even more fruitful for both sides.”‍

In another collaboration, CCG.ai and PRECISION-Panc have agreed a broad partnership to improve and standardise data analysis, distribution and sharing in platform clinical trials. 

Precision-Panc is a UK network of more than 20 hospitals that can offer precision medicine clinical trials to patients with pancreatic cancer.

OncOS, CCG.ai’s platform for clinical decision support, forms the basis of the piloted standardisation infrastructure and will provide insights into Precision-Panc’s large-scale, multi-centre, oncology trials. 

OncOS automates the analysis of cancer DNA samples and matches suitable clinical trials based on the underlying molecular features of a tumour, simplifying and streamlining data sharing to accelerate translation into the clinic. 

CCG.ai will also use machine learning to help uncover complex biomarkers of response to individual, or combinations of, therapies.

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