As anchor partners, Genentech and Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany gain a seat on the AC’s Industry Advisory Board, helping to set the pre-competitive research agenda, in addition to other membership benefits.


The Acceleration Consortium (AC) is pleased to announce two new industry members: biotechnology company Genentech, a member of the Roche Group, and science and technology company Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany.

This collaboration aims to advance the emerging field of accelerated discovery using self-driving laboratories, which combine artificial intelligence, robotics, and advanced computing to rapidly design new materials and molecules.  

Materials and molecular innovation are needed to address nearly all the world’s major challenges, from pandemics and climate change to sustainable electronics technology. By bringing together academia, government, and industry partners, the AC is building a community of key players to expedite research translation and commercialization that is critical for a healthier, more sustainable future.  

Quick facts

  • Based at the University of Toronto, the Acceleration Consortium (AC) is a global community advancing the science of self-driving labs to make better materials cheaper and faster.
  • By combining artificial intelligence, robotics, and advanced computing, self-driving labs can reduce the time and cost of bringing advanced materials to market, from an average of 20 years and $100 million to as little as one year and $1 million.
  • As anchor partners, Genentech and Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany gain a seat on the AC’s Industry Advisory Board, helping to set the pre-competitive research agenda, in addition to other membership benefits, including preferred access to:
  • ~Open-source software, databases, hardware designs
  • ~Consultations with the world’s top scientists in the field to address core technical and materials development challenges
  • ~Hands-on training with self-driving labs, including residency programs that embed staff across the AC to learn the latest in AI-aided experimental design
  • ~A global pipeline of top student recruits and entrepreneurs with a wide range of cross-disciplinary expertise

Meet our partners

Genentech pioneered the biotech industry and revolutionized how we treat some of the world’s most complex health problems. Today, as a member of the Roche Group, they continue to pursue breakthrough scientific research, develop life-changing medicines, unlock advances in data and technology, and partner across society to take on systemic issues that stand in the way of better healthcare for all.

Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, a leading science and technology company, operates across healthcare, life science and electronics. Around 60,000 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 advancing gene editing technologies and discovering unique ways to treat the most challenging diseases to enabling the intelligence of devices – the company is everywhere. In 2021, Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, generated sales of € 19.7 billion in 66 countries. Since its founding in 1668, scientific exploration and responsible entrepreneurship have been key to the company’s technological and scientific advances.  

Hear from the individuals leading the way

“Advancements in how technology is developed through AI will transform discovery of new molecules and materials for healthcare, life science and electronics. Progressing the field of AI for R&D and robotic experimentation needs joint efforts. If we are able to develop advanced materials significantly faster in the future, it will be a game changer in providing solutions for human progress.”
– Laura Matz, Chief Science & Technology Officer at Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany  

“The materials that will power our society in this century need to be circular economy-friendly, sustainable, inexpensive, and high performance. To find these materials as quickly as possible, this work cannot just be done at a single lab, or a single university, and not just in universities or government labs, but together with leading industry partners like Genentech and Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany.”
– Alán Aspuru-Guzik, director, Acceleration Consortium

“Collaboration is critical for innovation. The University of Toronto’s Acceleration Consortium understands the value of bringing partners together across disciplines, sectors, and geographies. This work has the power to transform materials discovery and in turn, improve our lives and our world for the better.”
– Christine Allen, associate vice-president and vice-provost, strategic initiatives, University of Toronto

Media contact

Erin Warner,  


Acceleration Consortium

This piece was written by a member of the AC team

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