New Jersey Innovation Institute joins Merck to launch Merck Digital Sciences Studio

Who better to collaborate with Merck on a new generation of innovative technologies for drug discovery and development than the New Jersey Innovation Institute?

Through the launch of the Merck Digital Sciences Studio corporation, with investments from the Merck Global Health Innovation Fund, Northpond Ventures and McKesson Ventures, early-stage biomedical startups will have access to powerful Azure Cloud computing and opportunities to pilot their technologies in collaboration with discovery and clinical scientists at Merck.

Technology support will be provided by Microsoft for Startups. Currently, the program plans to include six startups at NJII’s VentureLink incubator in Newark and six startups in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Beginning immediately, Merck will be welcoming applications for 12 spots for the first MDSS cohort. Startups developing artificial intelligence and machine learning applications will be prioritized.

Simon Nynens. (File photo)

“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,” Simon Nynens, CEO of NJII, said in a prepared statement. “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,” William Lutz, general manager, entrepreneurship and commercialization at NJII, said. “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.”