Flagship Ventures and Merck Research Labs Form Strategic Collaboration to Foster Early-Stage Life Sciences Innovation

Flagship Ventures and Merck Research Labs Form Strategic Collaboration to Foster Early-Stage Life Sciences Innovation
Initiative combines Merck's drug development expertise with Flagship's experience in building early stage companies

CAMBRIDGE, Mass., Apr 10, 2012 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Flagship Ventures, a leading venture capital firm focused on healthcare and sustainability, today announced a novel partnership with Merck Research Laboratories (MRL) and its newly formed Merck Research Ventures Fund. This collaboration is designed to leverage Merck's and Flagship's complementary strengths to launch and back new ventures that apply scientific breakthroughs to the development of new drugs in areas of unmet medical need.

Through the alliance, MRL will gain exposure to the unique investment and venture creation model that Flagship Ventures has applied over the last decade to successfully translate scientific innovation into medical breakthroughs. This partnership will also provide Flagship direct access to a global pharmaceutical industry leader with deep insight into pharmaceutical development, commercialization and regulation.

"Disruptive innovations increasingly derive from collaborations that can connect market insights, development expertise and scientific/technological breakthroughs," said Noubar Afeyan, managing partner and chief executive officer of Flagship Ventures. "We are very excited that Merck is joining our growing network of academic and industry partners that support our firm and community of over 35 life science ventures."

"The collaboration with Flagship underscores Merck's commitment to fully engage with the entrepreneurial ecosystem at the earliest possible stages and to access breakthrough science for the development of novel therapeutics," said Roger Pomerantz, M.D., FACP, senior vice president worldwide licensing and knowledge management at Merck.

As part of the collaboration, Merck Research Ventures Fund became an investor in Flagship Ventures Fund IV L.P., a $270 million oversubscribed venture capital fund closed in January 2012.

About Flagship Ventures

Realizing entrepreneurial innovation is the mission of Flagship Ventures. The firm operates through two synergistic units: VentureLabs which invents and launches transformative companies, and Venture Capital, which finances and realizes innovative, early-stage companies. Founded in 2000, and based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Flagship Ventures manages over $900 million in capital. The Flagship team innovates and invests in three principal business sectors: therapeutics, medical technologies and sustainability/clean technology. Several examples of successful portfolio ventures include, Acceleron Pharma, Agios, Accuri Cytometers, AVEO, Morphotek, Adnexus, and Joule Unlimited. For more information, visit www.flagshipventures.com .

About the Merck Research Ventures Fund

The Merck Research Ventures Fund is an investment vehicle through which Merck will help to shape the diversity and quality of external innovation, which may be captured through future partnerships and acquisitions. MRVF is jointly governed by an Investment Committee and a Scientific Management Approval Committee, each made up of senior Merck employees.

SOURCE: Flagship Ventures
        For Flagship Ventures:
        Schwartz MSL
        Benjamin Navon/Kathy Vigneault, 781-684-0770
        [email protected]