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Merck KGaA announces launch of start-up collaboration programme in Asia

The selected companies will receive up to €100,000 in financial assistance, as well as mentoring from Merck

Merck KGaA

Merck KGaA – known as EMD Serono in the US and Canada – has announced the launch of its Uptune programme in Asia, aiming to ‘generate collaboration opportunities’ with early-stage innovative companies.

The selected companies will receive up to €100,000 in financial assistance, mentoring and coaching from Merck experts in areas of research, business development, strategy and finance.

The programme will support companies across Asia working on relevant topics within healthcare, life sciences, electronics and smart manufacturing, to devise proofs-of-concepts, run pilot projects and develop partnerships with Merck.

The company noted that there will be a strong focus on companies working in manufacturing, utilising cellular, molecular- and immuno-assays or cell and gene therapy tools, engaging in manufacturing specialties such as supply chain innovation, data management, simulation and analytics and chemistry and materials for life sciences.

With the aim of developing proof-of-concepts, the selected companies will have the opportunity to ‘deepen their understanding’ of business scenarios and needs and test their solutions internationally, which could lead to ‘instrumental’ business cases or a partnership with the company, Merck said.

As well as the benefit to the selected start-ups, Merck will benefit from the programme by exploring new markets, gaining insights into cutting-edge technologies and connecting with innovative ideas outside the company, it said.

The  programme will start in mid-November 2022, and the application period will be open until 4 September 2022. At that point, the company will shortlist and select the final four to five start-ups, after Merck global experts have held rounds to evaluate each entry.

Commenting on the programme, Steven Johnston, vice president and head of Technology Innovation and Enablement at Merck Group Science and Technology Office, said: "The start-up environment in Asia is unique and inspiring. Building mutually beneficial and sustainable partnerships with promising start-ups and creating synergies between Merck and young companies will bring forward the next big ideas.

"Merck can be a strong supporter for them to jointly grow their business, providing not only funding, but also knowledge and industry expertise."

This is not the first time the company has offered support for emerging start-up companies in China. In the past three years, 30 start-ups were enrolled in the Merck China Accelerator programme. Each received up to €50,000 in funding and individual mentoring and coaching from internal and external experts, with 60% of those start-ups going on to collaborate with Merck.

Article by
Emily Kimber

18th July 2022

From: Healthcare

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