Merck Serono Merck Serono, a division of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, announced the formation of 'Merck Serono Ventures', a strategic, corporate venture capital fund to invest in emerging biotechnology companies.

The fund will support biotech start-up companies that have the potential to provide innovative products in Merck Serono's core therapeutic areas, in particular in neurodegenerative diseases, oncology and autoimmune & inflammatory diseases. 'Merck Serono Ventures' also will target companies developing innovative technologies that could enable the discovery and development of new products in Merck Serono's core therapeutic areas.

"Biotech start-up companies are an important element in scientific innovation," said Bernhard Kirschbaum, executive vice president of Research & Development at Merck Serono. "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 organization."

"The creation of a venture capital fund underlines our commitment to be Best Partner for biotech entrepreneurs and their investors," said Vincent Aurentz, executive vice president 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' has an initial commitment to invest up to EUR 40 million during the next five years. A key component of Merck Serono's strategy to be recognized as the 'Best Partner' in the biopharmaceutical industry, 'Merck Serono Ventures' will be included in the company's Portfolio Development function and closely linked to the Research & Development organization.