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German global pharmaceutical and chemical giant Merck has formed a strategic, corporate venture capital fund that will invest in emerging biotechnology companies.

Dubbed Merck Serono Ventures, the fund will support biotech start-up companies that have the potential to provide innovative products in the Merck Serono division’s core therapeutic areas, in particular, ones that target neurodegenerative diseases, oncology and autoimmune and inflammatory diseases.

It will also 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 and 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 organisation.’

Merck Serono Ventures has an initial commitment to invest up to €40m (£37m) during the next five years.

Companies wishing to submit proposals or receive additional information can do so at: