Artificial Intelligence: Merck Launches Biotech Accelerator Focused On AI/ML Startups

The newly-launched Merck Digital Sciences Studio (MDSS) will enable the generation of innovative technologies for drug discovery and development.

Pharma giant Merck (NYSE: MRK) has launched the Merck Digital Sciences Studio (MDSS), a biotech accelerator that will back AI and ML-focused startups developing innovative technologies for drug discovery and development. The 10-month program has been designed in collaboration with the New Jersey Innovation Institute. (Fierce Biotech)

The MDSS will have locations in Newark, NJ and Cambridge, MA.


The initial cohort will comprise 12 startups that are just taking off on their journey of biotech innovation. Six startups will attach to each of the Newark, NJ and Cambridge, MA venues.

The selected startups will receive support from Merck by way of investment (up to $150,000 in convertible notes), access to powerful Azure Cloud computing and opportunities to pilot their technologies in collaboration with discovery and clinical scientists.

“The biopharmaceutical industry has only just started to harness the tremendous opportunity presented by emerging technological developments in AI, and ML,” said Fiona Marshall, senior vice president, Discovery, Preclinical and Translational Medicine at Merck Research Laboratories. “The MDSS will provide a collaborative and entrepreneurial setting where scientists have access to the tools and expertise to fuel important innovations that advance drug discovery and development.”

AI Support from Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) Azure

“As digital transformation continues to redefine what’s possible in healthcare, startups are at the forefront of delivering new approaches and technologies to the industry,” said Sally Frank, Global Lead, Health and Life Sciences, Microsoft for Startups. “Merck Digital Sciences Studio provides an onramp for startup founders to quickly bring their ideas to market with the strength of a global healthcare leader like Merck behind them. Through Microsoft for Startups Founders Hub startups in the MDSS will gain access to powerful technologies including Microsoft 365 and Azure as well as expert business advice and technical support.”

Related Story: Brightseed Raises $68M For AI-Researched Health-Benefiting Compounds

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