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Merck Signs MoU with KAIST to Advance Scientific Collaboration

Merck 3 mins read
  • Partnership to facilitate collaborative research in academia and industry to further progress in life sciences
  • Multi-dimensional program to build local research capability and startup ecosystem as well as joint R&D projects
  • Further example of Merck’s close cooperation with Korea, following the recent € 300 million bioprocessing investment in Daejeon


Merck, a leading science and technology company, has signed a non-binding Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST). The academia-industry cooperation aims at advancing the research and development ecosystem in South Korea for industrial applications.

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From left to right: Kwang-Hyung Lee, President of KAIST, Matthias Heinzel, Member of the Executive Board of Merck and CEO Life Science. (Photo: Business Wire)

From left to right: Kwang-Hyung Lee, President of KAIST, Matthias Heinzel, Member of the Executive Board of Merck and CEO Life Science. (Photo: Business Wire)

“Our collaboration with KAIST is an important step towards accelerating the biotechnology ramp-up for both the local and global life science industry,” said Matthias Heinzel, Member of the Executive Board of Merck and CEO Life Science. “Advancing research and preparing the next generation of scientists is key to discovering new medicines to meet the needs of a global population – this is how we impact life and health with science.”

Through the partnership, Merck will provide products from its chemistry and biology portfolios for researchers in the lab. Merck will also offer development opportunities for KAIST researchers. These include the participation in the annual international programs Innovation Cup and the Curious Future Insight Conference as well as fellowships for graduate students and awards for professors. Additionally, Merck and KAIST will establish an experience lab in Korea. It aims to support researchers in improving their skills for developing new application notes and scientific workflows in areas such as material analysis, drug discovery, and omics solutions. A research partnership will also be established for joint R&D collaboration, focusing on advancing innovation in prioritized research areas. Merck’s corporate venture fund M Ventures will team up with the KAIST entrepreneurial team to build a startup ecosystem as part of the partnership.

"We are delighted that Merck and KAIST, which share an innovation mindset and a vision for scientific advancement, will work closely together," said Kwang-Hyung Lee, President of KAIST. "We look forward to this partnership as an opportunity to strengthen the connection between Merck's life science business and the global scientific community," he added.

Merck has been present in Korea for 30 years. During that time, the company has made several strategic investments to serve the region’s biopharmaceutical industry. In March, the company announced a € 300 million investment to build a new bioprocessing production facility in Daejeon.

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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Contact details:

Media Relations
Rachel Bloom-Baglin
Phone: +49 (6151) 72-44461


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