Merck Announces the Launch of the Merck Digital Sciences Studio to Help Healthcare Startups Quickly Bring their Innovations to Market

Merck, known as MSD outside the U.S. and Canada, has announced the launch of the Merck Digital Sciences Studio (MDSS) to enable the generation of innovative technologies for drug discovery and development. MDSS will support early-stage biomedical startups with direct investment, access to Azure Cloud computing, and opportunities to pilot their technologies in collaboration with discovery and clinical scientists at Merck.

The MDSS is a collaboration between Merck and the New Jersey Innovation Institute (NJII), a New Jersey Institute of Technology corporation. McKesson Ventures is one of the investors in the MDSS, along with Merck Global Health Innovation Fund and Northpond Ventures. Technology support will be provided by Microsoft for Startups. The MDSS will have locations in Newark, New Jersey, and Cambridge, Massachusetts.

“Startups in the biopharmaceutical industry fuel innovation, create high-quality jobs, and generate great opportunities for a stronger, more diverse and inclusive life-sciences ecosystem,” said Symon Nynens, CEO of the New Jersey Innovation Institute. “NJII looks forward to providing the programming, coaching, and connections to bring these ideas to life.”

Applications for the first cohort of 12 startups are now being accepted, and startups developing artificial intelligence and machine learning applications will be prioritized.

“The biopharmaceutical industry has only just started to harness the tremendous opportunity presented by emerging technological developments in AI and ML,” said Fiona Marshall, senior vice president, Discovery, Preclinical and Translational Medicine at Merck Research Laboratories. “The MDSS will provide a collaborative and entrepreneurial setting where scientists have access to the tools and expertise to fuel important innovations that advance drug discovery and development.”

Digital technologies are already enabling innovation in biomarker and drug discovery and development in the areas of target identification, lead discovery, pre-clinical development, and clinical development. Through MDSS, the collaborators will selectively accelerate and pilot novel and innovative digital technologies that are strategically aligned with Merck’s life science research.

Currently the program plans to include six startups at each of the two venues. Entrepreneurs interested in applying can visit the MDSS website for more information.

See the original press release here.

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