Merck Serono launches biomarker spinoff

Merck Serono has launched a second spinoff company, Quartz Bio, which will focus on biomarker data management and analysis for pharma companies developing new drugs. The biomarker information will allow companies to select the patients most likely to respond in clinical trials, as well as help doctors to tailor treatment to individual patients once drugs reach the market.

Merck Serono has committed to use Quartz Bio's services to the tune of around €2 million (around $2.3 million) over the next two or three years.

"An increasing number of pharmaceutical companies are integrating a stratified medicine approach in their drug development process in order to predict how patients will respond to a specific therapy," said Jérôme Wojcik, founder and CEO of Quartz Bio. "Biomarker analyses are at the heart of stratified medicine and we believe that Quartz Bio's flexible and highly specialized services will bring added value to pharmaceutical companies for the development of new drugs."

This follows the creation of Prexton Therapeutics, a biotech focusing on Parkinson's disease. Both companies are part of Merck Serono's Entrepreneur Partnership Program (EPP), announced in April. The company set this up after the closure of its Geneva headquarters and the axing of 500 jobs, as part of a €30 million ($47.1 million) commitment to fund a series of spinoffs and startups using in-house know-how and technology.

- read the press release