Merck Serono, a division of Merck, has created Quartz Bio, the second spin-off company resulting from its Entrepreneur Partnership Program launched in April. Quartz Bio will offer biomarker data management and exploratory biomarker analysis services to the pharmaceutical industry. Biomarker analysis is a critical step in the drug development process, as it enables the identification of patient profiles most responsive to a given treatment.
"This second company creation through our Entrepreneur Partnership Program shows the great diversity of activities that can be developed in the field of life sciences. Highly specialized service companies are essential actors of the drug-development process, and they are very complementary to the activities and structures of large pharmaceutical companies," said François Naef, chairman of Merck Serono. "The launch of Quartz Bio also illustrates the dynamism of Merck Serono employees, and I am convinced that the Geneva regional economic fabric will benefit from it."
Quartz Bio will be headed by Jérôme Wojcik, a seasoned expert in bioinformatics, and will employ four highly specialized scientists with in-depth understanding of biology and bioinformatics as well as extensive experience in drug-development processes. The company will be hosted in the Blue Box offices of Fongit, a start-up accelerator located in Plan-les-Ouates, Geneva, and supported by Geneva authorities. Merck Serono intends to use Quartz Bio’s services.
"An increasing number of pharmaceutical companies are integrating a stratified medicine approach in their drug development process in order to predict how patients will respond to a specific therapy," said Wojcik, founder and CEO of Quartz Bio. "Biomarker analyses are at the heart of stratified medicine and we believe that Quartz Bio's flexible and highly specialized services will bring added value to pharmaceutical companies for the development of new drugs."
Announced in April in the framework of the efficiency measures being taken by Merck Serono, the Entrepreneur Partnership Program (EPP) is part of a commitment to support the creation of spin-off and start-up companies focused on continuing activities and compounds that originated at Merck Serono. This program is aimed at reducing the impact on employment following closure of the Geneva headquarters due to restructuring, and already has resulted in the creation of another company, Prexton Therapeutics.