Merck Serono Initiates Strategic Israel Bioincubator Fund

By Merck Serono S A, PRNE
Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Opportunity for High Potential Israeli Biotech Start-Ups to Take Advantage of Seed Financing and use of State-of-the-art R&D Facilities

GENEVA, March 30, 2011 - Merck Serono, a division of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany,
announced today the Merck Serono Israel Bioincubator Fund, a strategic and
corporate initiative targeting Israeli biotechnology start-ups. The
bioincubator, designed to accelerate the successful development of
entrepreneurial start-up companies, will offer both seed financing and the
opportunity to use a dedicated part of Merck Serono's Israeli research and
development center, Interlab, for their own research.

Israeli biotech companies will be selected based on their
potential for developing innovative technologies aligned with the company's
strategy, which could enable the discovery and development of new products.
Merck Serono will commit a total of EUR 10 million in the bioincubator
program during a seven-year period.

"Because biotech companies and spin offs from academia in
Israel have a high innovation potential, this initiative is very promising
for Merck Serono," said Dr. Bernhard Kirschbaum, Executive Vice President of
Global Research & Development at Merck Serono. "Our collaboration through the
Merck Serono Israel Bioincubator Fund will create exciting opportunities."

"During its long history in Israel, Merck Serono has
experienced the willingness of small start ups to link with larger and more
experienced companies that can help them guide product development and
company growth," said Susan Herbert, Executive Vice President of Global
Portfolio Development at Merck Serono. "By offering start-ups the funding
options and access to more resources that could help move breakthrough
concepts into the pre-clinical phase, we can create significant early-stage
opportunities and build crucial relations needed for the in-licensing of
promising new compounds."

The bioincubator will be launched officially towards end of
2011. Israeli companies wishing to submit proposals or receive additional
information should contact the Merck Serono Israel Bioincubator Fund at: (

About Merck Serono

Merck Serono is the biopharmaceutical division of Merck KGaA,
Darmstadt, Germany, a global pharmaceutical and chemical company.
Headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland, Merck Serono discovers, develops,
manufactures and markets prescription medicines of both chemical and
biological origin in specialist indications. In the United States and Canada,
EMD Serono operates as a separately incorporated affiliate of Merck Serono.

Merck Serono has leading brands serving patients with cancer
(Erbitux(R), cetuximab), multiple sclerosis (Rebif(R), interferon beta-1a),
infertility (Gonal-f(R), follitropin alfa), endocrine and metabolic disorders
(Saizen(R) and Serostim(R), somatropin), (Kuvan(R), sapropterin
dihydrochloride), (Egrifta(TM), tesamorelin), as well as cardiometabolic
diseases (Glucophage(R), metformin), (Concor(R), bisoprolol), (Euthyrox(R),
levothyroxine). Not all products are available in all markets.

With an annual R&D expenditure of over EUR 1bn, Merck Serono
is committed to growing its business in specialist-focused therapeutic areas
including neurodegenerative diseases, oncology, fertility and endocrinology,
as well as new areas potentially arising out of research and development in

For more information, please visit

About Merck

Merck is a global pharmaceutical and chemical company with
total revenues of EUR 9.3 billion in 2010, a history that began in 1668, and
a future shaped by more than 40,000 employees in 67 countries. Its success is
characterized by innovations from entrepreneurial employees. Merck's
operating activities come under the umbrella of Merck KGaA, in which the
Merck family holds an approximately 70% interest and free shareholders own
the remaining approximately 30%. In 1917 the U.S. subsidiary Merck & Co. was
expropriated and has been an independent company ever since.

For more information, please visit

Merck Serono S.A. - Geneva, 9 Chemin des Mines, 1202 Genève, Suisse, Media relations, Tel: +41-22-414-36-00

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