Merck announced Tuesday a $35‑million investment in, and the launch of, the Merck Lumira Biosciences Fund. The fund, created in collaboration with Lumira Capital, Teralys Capital and other partners, will provide investment capital to support early-stage life science innovation in Québec.
Merck announced today a $35‑million investment in, and the launch of, the Merck Lumira Biosciences Fund (the “Fund”). The Fund, established by Merck, through a subsidiary, in collaboration with Lumira Capital, Teralys Capital and other partners, will provide investment capital to support early stage life science innovation in Québec.
The launch took place earlier today at the Fairmont The Queen Elizabeth Hotel in Montréal. Participants included Sam Hamad, Québec Minister of Economic Development, Innovation and Export Trade; Yolande James, Minister of Families and Member for Nelligan; Cyril Schiever, President and Managing Director of Merck in Canada as well as executives from Merck, Lumira Capital and Teralys Capital.
“The Merck Lumira Biosciences Fund represents a collaborative approach to research between government, academia and industry that builds upon the strong foundation of innovation in Québec. Through this Fund, we are committed to supporting Québec-based researchers to help stimulate R&D productivity and early stage innovation in particular,” said Mr. Schiever.
The Merck Lumira Biosciences Fund will invest predominantly in early-stage biotechnology companies with operations in Québec. It is designed to provide capital to fuel innovation as well as attract life science entrepreneurs to the province. The Fund provides a novel collaboration between a pharmaceutical company, a specialized venture capital firm and a Canadian technology fund of funds as well as other limited partners. Merck invested $35 million to the first closing, which totalled $43 million. The Fund is targeting $50 million upon final closing. Lumira Capital, which has also made an investment commitment to the Fund, will serve as fund manager. Unless negotiated separately with the portfolio companies of the Fund, Merck will not have any rights to the Fund’s portfolio companies or their products simply by virtue of its role as a limited partner.
“Building transformational healthcare and life science companies across North America, including in Québec, has been a key part of Lumira’s strategy for many years,” said Daniel Hétu, Managing Director of Lumira Capital. “We look forward to benefiting from Merck’s guidance and expertise as we look to build innovative Québec companies that generate strong returns for investors. Our experience, relationships and ability to be a collaborative and value-added partner are what we bring to the table in the management of this fund.”
“Teralys is very pleased to invest, alongside Merck, a significant amount in the life sciences ecosystem in Québec, which strengthens the province’s leadership in the sector,” said Jacques Bernier, Managing Partner of Teralys Capital. He added: “In addition to Merck as a strong and credible partner, Lumira Capital combines critical financial size with the international mindset and networks required for success in life sciences.”
The launch of the Fund marks the latest contribution by Merck to its commitment to invest $100 million over five years in biopharmaceutical research and development in Québec, announced in 2010. Previously, Merck has invested $6.8 million in AmorChem, a Québec life sciences venture capital fund, and $5 million in the Québec Consortium for Drug Discovery (CQDM).
Lumira Capital II LP
In addition to investing in the Merck Lumira Biosciences Fund, Merck is also contributing $5 million to the $101 million first closing of the Lumira Capital II Fund, as part of Merck’s broader global strategy to work with leading venture capital partners. With a later stage and wider geographic focus, Lumira Capital II will enhance the continuum of capital for later stage companies across Canada and the U.S. This fund includes several limited partners, including Teralys Capital and the Fonds de solidarité FTQ, along with the Ontario Venture Capital Fund and the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC).
During the past year, Merck has been working to strengthen its ties with the venture capital community by reaching out around the globe to build a series of regionally-focused strategic investment partnerships it collectively calls the Merck Research Ventures Fund (MRVF). The commitments to the Lumira managed funds are in line with this strategy.
Today’s Merck is working to help the world be well. Merck is a global health care leader with a diversified portfolio of prescription medicines, vaccines, consumer and animal health products. In Canada, Merck markets more than 530 pharmaceutical, consumer and animal health products. Merck is a leader in a broad range of areas such as cardiology, infectious diseases, respiratory, vaccines, women’s health and sun care, and is focused on expanding offerings in other areas, including virology, oncology and diabetes. For more information about our operations in Canada, visit www.merck.ca.
Forward Looking Statement
This news release includes “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the safe harbor provisions of the United States Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Such statements may include, but are not limited to, statements about the benefits of the merger between Merck and Schering-Plough, including future financial and operating results, the combined company’s plans, objectives, expectations and intentions and other statements that are not historical facts. Such statements are based upon the current beliefs and expectations of Merck’s management and are subject to significant risks and uncertainties. Actual results may differ from those set forth in the forward-looking statements.
The following factors, among others, could cause actual results to differ from those set forth in the forward-looking statements: the possibility that all of the expected synergies from the merger of Merck and Schering-Plough will not be realized, or will not be realized within the expected time period; the impact of pharmaceutical industry regulation and health care legislation in the United States and internationally; Merck’s ability to accurately predict future market conditions; dependence on the effectiveness of Merck’s patents and other protections for innovative products; and the exposure to litigation and/or regulatory actions.