Merck Serono Sets Up Biotech Incubator in Israel
This is the first biotech incubator established by a multinational pharmaceutical company without any financial support by the Israel government, Merck said.
The new incubator will offer companies seed financing and the use of Inter-Lab's site for their research.
Merck Serono made a commitment to invest €10 million ($13.1 million) in the biotech incubator programme between 2011 and 2018.
"The aim of the biotech incubator is to accelerate the successful entrepreneurial development of start-up companies in Israel. That's because, in our view, innovation is about translating science into business," said Karl-Ludwig Kley, chief executive of Merck.
Regine Shevach, Inter-Lab's managing director, said more than 100 requests from entrepreneurs and scientists had been received and were being evaluated.
The company will invest in up to eight start-ups until 2018, said Gangolf Schrimpf, Merck's spokesman.
Merck focuses on the areas of oncology, fertility and neurodegenerative diseases such as multiple sclerosis.
"We would be happy if it's in these three areas, but we are open to other areas," Schrimpf said.