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Merck Serono sets up biotech fund

Published on 24/03/09 at 06:34am

Merck Serono has set up a venture capital fund to invest in emerging biotech companies working in its core therapy areas.

The new source of funding will be welcome for the biotech sector, which has seen traditional venture capital funding dry up following the credit crunch.

The European biotech sector recently warned that one in five European companies could go under by the end of 2009 if new funding doesn't emerge.

The Merck Serono Ventures fund has a 40 million euros purse and will invest in biotech start-ups that work in neurodegenerative, autoimmune and inflammatory diseases and oncology.

The fund will also target biotechs working on innovative technologies that could help Merck Serono discover and develop new products in these areas.

Executive VP of research and development Bernhard Kirschbaum said: "Merck Serono's venture capital fund will provide the opportunity to support scientific excellence in our core fields of interest and provide start-up companies with the opportunity to interact early on with our organisation."

The fund is closely aligned with the company's aim to be recognised as the 'Best Partner' in the biopharmaceutical industry.

"The creation of a venture capital fund underlines our commitment to be Best Partner for biotech entrepreneurs and their investors," said Vincent Aurentz, executive VP of portfolio development at Merck Serono. "This activity complements our toolkit of collaborative approaches to build a high-quality portfolio with our partners."

Merck Serono Ventures will be part of the company's portfolio development function and closely linked to its R&D organisation.

The fund will initially invest up to 40 million euros over the next five years. Companies wishing to submit proposals or receive additional information can contact the company via the Merck Serono Ventures page on its website.

Related stories:

One in five European biotech companies facing bankruptcy

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Related links:

Merck Serono Ventures

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