Germany’s Merck expands its corporate ventures fund
Merck, based in Darmstadt, Germany, has announced an increased commitment to its Corporate Ventures fund under the new Corporate Ventures fund roof (official name: Merck Ventures BV, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, a subsidiary of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany).
Four dedicated investment teams will focus on Healthcare, Life Science, Performance Materials and new businesses. The total volume of the newly set-up Corporate Ventures fund of Merck can reach up to €300 million once fully invested, doubling the volume of the previous biopharma venture fund of €150 million.
“Our biopharma venture fund has been very successful to date. Now we are applying this successful approach to all three business sectors of our company,” said Stefan Oschmann, chairman of the executive board and CEO of Merck. “The new fund now reflects our businesses and, with its fourth arm, is open to investing in new businesses as we scout continuously for innovative ideas, for example in the area of digitalization.”
With its four teams, the new Corporate Ventures fund follows the former biopharma venture blueprint of Merck, which has been in place since 2009. The biopharma fund was at the basis of several success stories such as Galecto Biotech (galectin modulators for the treatment of severe diseases), Asceneuron (company spin-off developing innovative drugs to help people with Alzheimer’s disease) and Metabomed (novel drugs against targets in the field of cancer cell metabolism), among others.
“The investments of the Corporate Ventures fund will be aligned with the strategic interests of Merck, though formally separated by a Chinese wall,” said Roel Bulthuis, managing director of the newly set up fund. “With our infrastructure of a leading science and technology company we provide startups with the support they need to make their vision a commercial success.”
The investment teams come with significant domain expertise and will provide a tailored investment approach across industries. Each team has the capacity to engage in seed-stage company creation, early-stage syndicated investments and Merck spin-off creation and funding. Like the former biopharma venture fund, the new Corporate Ventures fund is managed by a global team headed by Roel Bulthuis.