What You Should Know:
– Merck, today 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 powerful Azure Cloud computing and opportunities to pilot their technologies in collaboration with discovery and clinical scientists at Merck.
MDSS Accelerator Program Focus
The MDSS is a collaboration between Merck and the New Jersey Innovation Institute (NJII), a New Jersey Institute of Technology corporation, with investments from the Merck Global Health Innovation Fund, Northpond Ventures and McKesson Ventures. The MDSS is a 10-month hands-on accelerator program providing mentorship, coaching, training, support, community and investment in digital health and biotech startups. MDSS will offer up to $150,000 in convertible notes and access to Microsoft’s Founders Hub resources, including up to $150,000 in Azure compute credits. The MDSS will have locations in Newark, NJ and Cambridge, MA. Starting today, Merck welcomes applications for 12 spots for the first MDSS cohort. Startups developing artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) applications will be prioritized.
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 Newark, NJ and Cambridge, MA venues.
“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.”