Merck KGaA announced the initiation of a Merck Serono Israel Bioincubator Fund, a strategic and corporate initiative targeting Israeli biotechnology start-ups. The fund was announced during a visit by Karl-Ludwig Kley, Chairman of the Executive Board of Merck, in Israel, where he met Shalom Simhon, Minister of Industry, Trade and Labour, and Avi Hasson, Chief Scientist.
The incubator program is designed to accelerate the successful development of entrepreneurial start-up companies and will offer both seed financing and the opportunity of using a dedicated part of Merck Serono’s Israeli research and development center, Interlab, for their own research. Over a seven-year time span, Merck Serono will invest a total of EUR 10 million. In parallel Merck Chemicals will initiate a program for start-up companies in the area of high-tech and life science materials. Merck Chemicals will allocate as much as EUR 3 million within the next three years in this program.
Israeli companies 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. Merck's incubator program encompasses the fields of pharmaceuticals, life sciences and performance materials.
"We hope this new incubator program will further strengthen our research cooperations here because Israel is one of the top countries for scientific innovation and start-up companies in the fields of biopharmaceuticals and high-tech materials," Kley said.
Merck has participated since 2007 in the Global Enterprise Collaboration Framework Program of the of Israeli Ministry of Industry, Trade and Labour, which was set up to grant Israeli partners several benefits including dedicated technical, marketing and sales support in worldwide market places as well as access to business development and application technology resources. A new call for proposals for this program was provided to the Ministry today.
During his visit Kley also met with the presidents and leading scientists of the Weizmann Institute, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Technion Haifa.
Merck is a global pharmaceutical and chemical company with total revenues of EUR 9.3 billion in 2010, a history that began in 1668, and a future shaped by more than 40,000 employees in 67 countries. Its success is characterized by innovations from entrepreneurial employees. Merck's operating activities come under the umbrella of Merck KGaA, in which the Merck family holds an approximately 70% interest and free shareholders own the remaining approximately 30%. In 1917 the U.S. subsidiary Merck & Co. was expropriated and has been an independent company ever since.