Merck Serono's earnest money

The strategy behind Merck Serono's EUR 60M infusion into MS Ventures

Four years after launching a strategic venture fund, the Merck Serono S.A. unit of Merck KGaA is making a long-term commitment with an infusion of €60 million ($77.8 million).

While the fund's focus will remain on seed and series A deals, the cash injection will enable later-stage investments, with a proviso - an asset must be sufficiently differentiated and fit Merck Serono's focus in cancer, neurodegenerative, immunology, endocrinology and fertility indications.

Merck Serono Ventures was formed in 2009 with an initial €40 million. With the new €60 million, plus €30 million earmarked for spinouts resulting from the pharma unit's ongoing restructuring, and €10 million for an incubator focused on Israeli startups, the fund will now manage a total of €140 million ($181.6 million).

It will also now reside in a dedicated investment affiliate of Merck known as MS Ventures.

"This was a

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