Merck fulfills spin-off promise
01.08.2012 - Merck Serono has spun off the first company as part of its Entrepreneur Partnership Program. The project was launched in April 2012 when mother company Merck KGaA in Darmstadt had decided to end its activities in Geneva.
Newco Prexton Therapeutics will be formed around Merck Serono's R&D portfolio in the field of Parkinson's disease and will focus on programmes that target the metabotropic glutamate receptors mGluR3 and mGluR4. Prexton will be hosted in the offices and laboratory of Eclosion, a biotech start-up incubator supported by the Geneva authorities and Merck Serono which will invest €2.1m as seed funding. Helping spin-off companies such as Prexton was one of Merck Serono’s proposals to employee groups unsatisfied by social plan and severance options. In total, the pharma has reserved €30m to back start-ups by employees at its operations in Geneva. Prexton will be run by a team of Merck Serono scientists, with a member of Merck Serono Ventures on the board of directors.