26 June 2019

Merck Accelerator opens a set

The scientific and technological company Merck has announced the opening of the next round of accepting applications from startups to participate in the Merck Accelerator global program. Startups can participate in the program at the innovation center at the company's headquarters in Darmstadt or at the innovation hub in Shanghai.


"We are creating a new business by supporting innovation outside of our current activities," said Isabelle De Paoli, director of strategy at Merck. – Cooperation with startups around the world with the help of the Merck accelerator creates excellent opportunities for both startups and Merck. As part of the program, startups get access to a strong partner with extensive experience, which can accelerate the development of businesses that may already be of interest to the industry. At the same time, Merck is gaining new opportunities to promote innovation outside of our current activities. Joining efforts can have an impact on solving the problems facing humanity."

The Merck accelerator in Germany and China is designed to combine the company's innovative projects with ideas born in startups, as well as with Merck's three business lines for joint development and sustainable business partnership. Within three months, startups receive financial support in the amount of up to 50,000 euros, access to trainers, i.e. more than 50,000 Merck experts around the world. Also, within the framework of the accelerator, top managers of Merck act as mentors, conduct training sessions and communicate personally with startups.

In Darmstadt, selected startups will have access to a modern workspace in the futuristic Merck innovation center with prototyping capabilities in the Makerspace space. In China, startups will have access to Merck's local network and a number of sites, such as Guangzhou, Beijing and Shanghai, with different business lines and ecosystems.

In addition to the main areas of Merck's research activities in the field of healthcare, life sciences and high-tech materials, the main task of the Merck accelerator is to partner with startups in other innovative areas of the company's activities:

  • Biosensors and interfaces: interfaces for solutions that combine the biological and technological worlds
  • Liquid biopsy: solutions to overcome problems in the field of liquid biopsy.
  • Test tube meat: launch of cultured meat production technology (specifically for the headquarters program at the Innovation center).
  • Solutions in the field of healthcare based on artificial intelligence (AI), which include solutions for improving the level of diagnostics and precision medicine; scientific development of medicines using AI; digital therapy (specifically for the program in China).

"We have a lot of experience in partnership with startups. For successful cooperation, we provide companies with the right synergies within Merck," said Michael Gamber, head of the Merck Innovation Center. – The last set of startups of the Merck accelerator in the innovation center turned out to be incredibly successful, 90% of startups are either already cooperating or negotiating cooperation with us."

For example, iXensor, a graduate company that completed its participation in the Merck accelerator at the Innovation Center in April, is one of those startups that signed a cooperation agreement with Merck to enter African markets for the first time. This Taiwanese startup conducted the first successful pilot test at Merck CURAFA health care points in Kenya and provided its latest devices to support an initiative aimed at improving access to primary health care for local populations in emerging economies.

To date, 57 startups have participated in the Merck accelerator since the launch of the program in 2015. At the moment, Merck is ready to accept up to 12 startups to participate in the program in Darmstadt and up to 6 startups in the Innovation Center in China.

Merck's acceleration program will take place from mid-January to April 2020 simultaneously at the Merck Innovation Center in Darmstadt and at the company's innovation hub in China. Immediately after the completion of each program, the selected startups will have the opportunity to continue their activities, both in China and in Darmstadt. Applications for both programs are open from now until August 25, 2019. For more information, see the company's website.

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