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Merck Serono to invest $14 million in Israeli biotech companies April 4, 2011

Posted by israelhealthcare in Health Care Startups, Life Science.
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Merck Serono, the biopharmaceutical division of Merck KGaA, will invest $14 million (€10 million) in Israeli biotech companies during the next seven-year.

The company has initiated the Merck Serono Israel Bioincubator Fund, a strategic and corporate initiative targeting Israeli biotechnology startups. The bioincubator, which will be launched officially towards end of 2011, designed to accelerate the successful development of entrepreneurial startup companies. It will offer both seed financing and the opportunity to use a dedicated part of Merck Serono’s Israeli research and development center, Interlab, for their own research.

“Because biotech companies and spin offs from academia in Israel have a high innovation potential, this initiative is very promising for Merck Serono,” said Dr. Bernhard Kirschbaum, Executive Vice President of Global Research & Development at Merck Serono. “Our collaboration through the Merck Serono Israel Bioincubator Fund will create exciting opportunities.”

“During its long history in Israel, Merck Serono has experienced the willingness of small startups to link with larger and more experienced companies that can help them guide product development and company growth,” said Susan Herbert, Executive Vice President of Global Portfolio Development at Merck Serono. “By offering startups the funding options and access to more resources that could help move breakthrough concepts into the pre-clinical phase, we can create significant early-stage opportunities and build crucial relations needed for the in-licensing of promising new compounds.”

Israeli biotech startups will be selected based on their potential for developing innovative technologies aligned with the company’s strategy, which could enable the discovery and development of new products. By nurturing biotech startups at an early stage of development, the company is seeking to secure innovations for future application in its focus business areas of Oncology, Neurodegenerative Diseases, Rheumatology, Fertility and Endocrinology.

In 2010, the Life Sciences sector in Israel led capital raising with $350 million or 28% of the total $1.26 billion raised by Israeli high-tech companies from local and foreign venture investors, according to IVC Research data.

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