European biotech investment to fund new therapies

European biotech investment to fund new therapies

European biotech investment by the Merck Advance Biotech Grant Program will help to fund new therapies.

The Merck Advance Biotech Grant Program is a source of European biotech investment which has been hosted annually since 2014, and provides funding for biotech companies developing innovative therapies. The German company behind the programme, Merck, has announced that due to the success of this program they will now be doubling the frequency of the grant per year.

Darren Verlenden, the Senior Vice President of Bioprocessing at Merck, said: “We will first launch the rejuvenated program in Europe; after that it will rotate semi-annually between the three regions. During each round of the program, one first prize winner will receive €100,000 in products and services to help accelerate drug development, while a second and third place winner each receive €50,000 in products and services.”

The challenge of commercialising therapies

Merck have identified that often when small and mid-size biotech companies develop new therapies they struggle with the financial burden when moving the molecule to the clinic. The risk is that the innovative therapies will never reach be commercialised and realise their potential to treat patients.

The outcomes of European biotech investment

In 2016, the small biotech company GeneQuine Biotherapeutics won the Merck first prize. This was awarded to them in support of their new osteoarthritis therapies. They have since developed a service to manufacture, characterise and test their master cell bank.  The program has had 14 winners of the grant altogether.

The calls for applicants are still open, and applicants can apply on line by stating the challenges that they face, along with a description of their project and the medical needs it aims to solve. Companies from the UK, Ireland, France, Spain, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Norway, and Sweden have been welcomed to apply for the European biotech investment.

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