Merck KGaA gives corporate venture fund a €60M boost

Merck KGaA signaled Thursday that it will make a bigger commitment to investing in emerging biotech companies. The German company is giving its corporate venture capital fund MS Ventures a boost--raising its funding level to €100 million ($129 million) from an initial investment level of €40 million ($51.6 million) when the fund was first established in March 2009.

The German company said in a statement that the increase in funding will allow it to significantly expand its investment activities.

"Biotech companies and their venture capital investors are a critical source of ideas and innovation for our industry," said Stefan Oschmann, Merck executive board member and CEO of the Merck Serono division, in a statement.

In addition to the strategic venture fund, MS Ventures--which emphasizes early-stage investments--also manages the €10 million Merck Serono Israel Bioincubator Fund as well as portfolio companies backed by the €30 million Entrepreneur Partnership Program established to fund spinoffs from Merck Serono. The corporate venture fund is particularly interested in oncology, neurodegenerative diseases, fertility, endocrinology and cardiometabolic care--Merck Serono's therapeutic areas of focus.

Companies wishing to submit proposals to MS Ventures can do so here.

- here's the press release