Merck's VC unit invests in data security business

With report after report finding flaws in the data security practices of healthcare and life science organizations, Exostar has decided to accelerate its expansion into the sector. And the company has snagged funding from the Merck Global Health Innovation Fund to support its plans.

Merck's ($MRK) venture capital unit has made a $5 million investment in Exostar. Herndon, VA-based Exostar will use the cash to push ahead with its expansion into healthcare, a process that will entail tailoring some of the capabilities it has established in aerospace and defense to the needs of the industry. Multiple industries face similar pressures related to the secure sharing of data, a fact that encouraged Merck's VC unit to make the investment.

"Exostar's secure cloud-based access and existing user base delivers a strong complement to the current and future needs of the data-driven healthcare industry," Merck Global Health Innovation Fund's Joe Volpe said. The data security specialist claims to already work with 600 life science-focused businesses, government agencies and universities, including pharmaceutical companies. Exostar now hopes to help with ePrescribing, health information exchange and clinical collaboration.

The current drug development and healthcare delivery models necessitate the sharing of data between biopharma, hospitals, CROs, universities and other players, but mean companies can no longer simply sit data behind their own firewalls. Exostar, Intralinks and others are trying to help pharma cope with this situation.

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