Merck (NYSE: MRK), in partnership with New Jersey Innovation Institute (NJII), 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. 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.
The MDSS is a collaboration between Merck and NJII, a New Jersey Institute of Technology corporation, with investments from the Merck Global Health Innovation Fund, Northpond Ventures, and McKesson Ventures. Technology support will be provided by Microsoft for Startups. The MDSS will have locations in Newark, NJ and Cambridge, MA.
“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 Simon Nynens, CEO of NJII. “NJII looks forward to providing the programming, coaching, and connections to bring these ideas to life.”
NJII will provide the training, programming, and community that are critical to early-stage startups. NJII’s Entrepreneurship Division, which regularly works with organizations and teams to help expand their innovation mindset and train others in the methods of entrepreneurship, will provide workshops, mentorship, office hours, coaching, and various community events to support program participants.
“We believe Digital Health is a vital focus area for growth and technology startup companies,” said William Lutz, General Manager, Entrepreneurship and Commercialization at NJII. “I’m beyond excited to be working with this team to grow the startup accelerator support in this space. The doors open to these startups because of access, engagement, and support of established corporate players is going to make a huge difference.”