Merck KGaA, Palantir Form Joint Venture to Develop Cancer Data Platform

November 20, 2018
Merck KGaA, Palantir Form Joint Venture to Develop Cancer Data Platform
Merck KGaA and software company Palantir Technologies are forming a joint venture to develop a collaborative technology platform to advance cancer research. [© Robert Mizerek/Fotolia]

Merck KGaA and software company Palantir Technologies said they will form a joint venture to develop a collaborative technology platform to advance cancer research.

The joint venture, to be called Syntropy, will create a data integration platform designed to let users structure and analyze data from disparate sources. Merck KGaA and Palantir said they have signed a non-binding term sheet to initiate creation of Syntropy, which is expected to be headquartered in Boston.

Syntropy’s platform will be designed to facilitate secure, transparent sharing of data between participating researchers and institutions, enable researchers to glean research insights faster, and safeguard ownership of the data, Merck KGaA and Palantir said.

The platform will be based on Palantir’s Palantir Foundry, which according to the companies is intended to enable users with varying technical ability but deep subject matter expertise to work meaningfully with data.

Data integration capabilities of Syntropy’s platform, according to Merck KGaA and Palantir, will include:

  • Versioning semantics to keep data and business logic in sync
  • Dynamic, systemwide security and access controls
  • Branching of code, analyses, and reports
  • Microservice architecture with built-in coordination, security, and upgrades;
  • Open APIs and data formats designed to interoperate with an organization's data ecosystem.
  • Flexible data protection frameworks designed to evolve with changes in regulations and industry best practices.

“The success of science hinges on the ability to act on insights,” Stefan Oschmann, Chairman of the Executive Board and CEO of Merck KGaA, said in a statement. “We expect Syntropy to facilitate collaboration within the global scientific community, in order to drive breakthrough innovation in cancer research.”

Headquartered in Darmstadt, Germany, Merck KGaA is a healthcare, life science and performance materials giant with about 53,000 employees worldwide and operations in 66 countries.

Added Alexander Karp, Palantir co-founder and CEO: “Syntropy aims to help researchers collaborate securely to realize the value of this data, driving discoveries that will deliver better treatments to patients faster.”

Palantir was founded in 2004; its co-founders include PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel. The company is headquartered in Palo Alto, CA, with major offices in New York, Washington, D.C., London, Paris, and Munich.