Sabancı University Nanotechnology Research and Application Center (SUNUM) and Merck presents
Groundbreaking Collaboration in Biotechnological Product Development
Sabancı University Nanotechnology Research and Application Center (SUNUM) and Merck present a historic R&D and Application Unit in the field of biotechnological product development in Turkey. “SUNUM&MERCK Life Science Research” is now in service.
Through this collaboration, Turkey resumed a new biotechnology R&D unit and modern laboratory infrastructure and equipment. The studies to be carried out here will contribute to Turkey’s vision of becoming one of the countries that has important pharmaceutical R&D centers and production hubs. Established through the collaboration of SUNUM and Merck, one of the oldest pharmaceutical and chemical companies of the world incorporated 351 years ago and still is one of the most advanced in science and technology, the Merck & SUNUM Life Sciences Application Unit was brought into service with a special ceremony at the Sabancı University on April 11, 2019. Along with Yusuf Leblebici, the Sabancı University President; Şehram Zayer, Merck Turkey Chairman and General Manager; Alpagut Kara, SUNUM Chairman; Ron Bunschoten, Merck Head of Sales Central, East and South Europe - Process Solutions; Fazilet Vardar Sukan, Director of SUNUM and Sabancı University academics, and top executives of Merck, representatives of outstanding public and private sector institutions and organizations and many prominent figures of the sector attended the opening ceremony.
With SUNUM&MERCK Life Sciences Application Unit, Turkey is getting a modern infrastructure for biotechnological product process development. The aim is to contribute to biotechnological product R&D and the formation of academic based workforce. Biotechnological products are generated thanks to the “recombinant DNA technology”, transplanting the gene of a living cell to another. This technology enables the production of the proteins and hormones naturally secreted by the body in the lab environment by the cell cultures. The human body friendly molecules produced this way are called biotechnological products.
The long-established pharmaceutical and life sciences company of the world with a history dating back 351 years, Merck provides innovative solutions in these sectors with its science-focused R&D intensive investments. Discovering new molecules with the biotechnological product development studies, it discovers new molecules and presents them to the service of the patients and the field of medicine.
Within the scope of Turkey’s 2023 vision, the aim is to create a value worth 23.3 billion dollars by using innovative and advanced technologies in healthcare. The road map stipulates increasing R&D investments, comprising high-caliber work force and multiplying the number of biotechnological production centers. Thanks to this project, through the know-how transfer of Merck, our vision to become a country that boasts important pharmaceuticals and active ingredients R&D centers, production premises and qualified academicians are supported. A center is being brought into service where the Turkish scientists and the pharmaceutical companies in our country can invent new biotechnological pharmaceuticals.
Scholarships for the Doctorate Students
Within the scope of the collaboration between SUNUM&MERCK, a joint working group was formed by the two institutions and scholarships are given to Sabancı University Molecular Biology, Genetics and Bioengineering Programs’ Doctorate Students. Support is given to the formation of the qualified work force that Turkey will require in the near future.
Our Mission is “To Co-create and Codevelop”
Speaking in the opening ceremony of SUNUM&MERCK Life Sciences and Application Unit, Yusuf Leblebici, the President of Sabancı University said, "The existence of these centers in Sabancı University, the studies conducted and the collaborations with our faculties have always been prioritized. Aiming to provide sustainable contribution to advancement of information and technology, our university becomes stronger through the national and international collaborations it makes with the industry within the scope of its “Co-create and Codevelop” mission. Making it to the top among the universities enlisted under the “Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure” category of The Times Higher Education 2019 World University Rankings announced this month, is a significant indicator of the importance we give to collaborating with the industry. Today, we are once again contended to see these types of international collaborations coming to fruition. The trust invested by Merck, one of the long established companies of the world, in the infrastructure and work force of Sabancı University makes us proud. Combining our R&D power in engineering with Merck, we are adding a brand new one to our scientific collaborations in healthcare and medicine.”
Underlining that SUNUM&MERCK Life Sciences Application Unit will be a unit where pharmaceutical and active ingredients producers stationed in Turkey can carry out training and development sessions endeavoring to raise the required high-caliber and academic work force, he also expressed that they were of the firm belief that this unit will be the source of groundbreaking ideas and inventions in healthcare and medicine. He continued, “One other output of this collaboration is giving scholarship to some of the doctorate students of the Molecular Biology, Genetics and Bioengineering Program. Through the studies conducted by our academics and researchers with an interdisciplinary approach, Sabancı University and its faculties will continue to be a center of excellence and attraction.”
Contributing to the development of biotechnological pharmaceuticals in Turkey
Celebrating its 21th Anniversary of establishment in Turkey, Merck’s products were first introduced to our country at the beginning of 1900s. Drawing attention to how they are focused on creating projects that can add value to our country, Merck Turkey Chairman and General Manager Şehram Zayer said, “We are very proud to perform the opening ceremony of this center that will contribute to Biotechnological pharmaceuticals R&D endeavors, in collaboration with Sabancı University, one of the respectable and leading universities of our country and Sabancı University Nanotechnology Research and Application Center (SUNUM). Turkey’s 2023 vision quite clearly aims focusing on R&D in healthcare and the forming of an ecosystem to create value through domestic and international investments. As Merck Turkey, we are quite glad to contribute to the achievement of this aim”. Cutting a swathe to the importance of qualified academics to carry out these studies Zayer said, “This project will contribute to our country in many fields. In this center, researchers will be able to work on biotechnological product process development and sanitization. GMP (Good Manufacturing Practice) Certification of the biotechnological product research centers will be supported by the know-how transfer Merck will provide. We are foreseeing an increase in the number of the biotechnological pharmaceutical production in Turkey. One of the most important contributions of the project, is cultivating the young scientists to take part in these R&D works alongside our esteemed academics who are currently working in this field.”
High-caliber and academic work force
In the speech he gave during the opening ceremony, SUNUM Chairman Alpagut Kara emphasized that SUNUM is one of the 4 centers granted a certificate of competency pursuant to “Law on Supporting Research and Development Activities” and that they focused its funds primarily on nano materials, life sciences, food, agriculture, water, environmental and energy technologies since the day it was establishment. Expressing that SUNUM is right at the heart of the research, training and innovation activities, Kara underlined that they are an exemplar center among thematic research centers operating within high education institutions with their national and international qualified research staff, bridging the university and the industry.
Kara went on to add: “We signed this agreement feeling the support of MERCK, one of the leading suppliers of the Global Healthcare Services and Life Sciences sector, and the long established power and the close ties of SABANCI UNIVERSITY, our home institution. Under the roof of “SUNUM&MERCK Life Sciences Application Center”, not only biotechnological pharmaceuticals and active ingredients R&D studies but also training sessions will be carried out and scholarships will also be granted to doctorate students. Moreover, thanks to this unit the sector will focus its attention on SUNUM and a significant contribution will be made to the high-caliber and academic work force our country requires.”
The opening ceremony was completed with an orientation tour of the SUNUM&MERCK Life Sciences Application Unit that ensued the signature ceremony held after the speeches.