Merck KGaA, Palantir's new joint venture looks to tear down cancer research data silos

Boston-based Syntropy will create a digital platform that allows cancer researchers to share and analyze data from numerous different organizations.
By Dave Muoio
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Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, and Silicon Valley-area big data company Palantir Technologies announced a joint venture that will focus on building an analytics and collaborative technology platform for cancer researchers.

Called Syntropy, the Boston-based effort will rely on Palantir Foundry to power its data integration platform. Any research data shared across participating groups will be transparent and secure, according to the companies, with the participating institutions maintaining ownership of their data.

"Unlocking the power of scientific data is critical to advancing the fight against cancer," Alexander Karp, Palantir cofounder and CEO, said in a statement. "Syntropy aims to help researchers collaborate securely to realize the value of this data, driving discoveries that will deliver better treatments to patients faster.”

Why it matters

Numerous hospitals and research institutions are actively conducting cancer research, but the data they are generating is often limited to their own organization. Syntropy’s collaborative platform would looks to be a collective ecosystem that houses these research data and facilitates cross-institution analyses to drive new breakthroughs in cancer research and care.

What’s the trend

News of the joint venture comes just a few months after Palantir signed a contract with the National Institutes of Health for a similar data platform project. That deal allowed the government research body access to Palantir’s tech for automatically aggregating research data from public and private sources into a single interface for improved analysis.

On the record

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