VC group offers to help axed Merck KGaA staffers launch spinoffs

Index Ventures and Eclosion, a biotech incubator, have joined forces to see if they can help shape some of the spinoff companies that could come out of Merck KGaA's decision to close its sprawling complex in Geneva, according to a report in Le Temps.

The pharma giant has already pledged about $40 million in seed cash to help fuel spinoffs. Now the venture group and incubator say they're ready to hear out any ideas coming from the hundreds of workers being let go, ready to offer advice to any that feel they have an idea for a new biopharma business. And Index, a high-profile venture player in Europe, says it will try to match workers with jobs in its network of biotech companies on the Continent.

The original report is in French, providing a few light moments when Google managed to garble some of the language. But the message came through: Merck welcomes the initiative, and more groups are likely to step up with job offers and startup ideas. 

"We will meet to discuss in the coming days and have every intention to evaluate the projects, possible spinoff or startup of interest in the long term," Merck KGaA noted, more or less.

- here's the story from Le Temps (translated)