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Merck's accelerator to take start-ups to Silicon Valley

Will expand the reach of its Darmstadt and Nairobi programmes

Merck digital health accelerator 

Merck has added a month-long Silicon Valley stay to the pot on offer for start-ups participating in the next round of its accelerator programmes in Germany and Kenya.

The programmes seek to support healthcare, life science and performance materials start-ups, with a particular focus on those developing digital solutions.

In a bid to internationalise its accelerators Merck will give two start-ups - one from its Nairobi and one from its Darmstadt programmes - the opportunity to move to California for a month.

In doing so they will have the possibility of testing their business model in the US and thus proving their concepts, Merck said.

Michael Gamber, head of the Merck Innovation Center, said: “Silicon Valley is the region with the world's highest venture capital ratio. We want to provide our start-ups with the best support to establish themselves internationally and to network. A bridge to the Silicon Valley is the logical step.”

Merck has also increased the amount it is providing to the start-ups from its Darmstadt Accelerator programme, raising it from €25,000 for the three selected start-ups to up to €50,000 in financial assistance, a move the firm said was driven by European start-ups' greater need for financial assistance.

Kenya was chosen for the launch earlier this year of Merck's first health accelerator outside its home base of Darmstand, a move that ties in with the company's digital health ambitions for Africa.

The programmes are part of a growing trend for pharma firms, and other less traditional health players, to look for digital health companies to support and potentially partner with. 

Merck Sharp & Dohme - via its Velocity Health collaboration, Bayer - with Grants4Apps, Janssen and Microsoft are among those active in this area.

13th June 2016

From: Healthcare

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