Merck Serono has inked a master services agreement with its recently spun-out biomarker analysis services firm Quartz Bio.
Under the deal the firm has reportedly pledged work orders of around €2m over the next two years.
Speaking to Outsourcing-Pharma.com, Quartz Bio’s new CEO Jérôme Wojcik – who is currently still director of bioinformatics at Merck Serono – said: “They are our first customer. So far they are our only customers, but we have many showing interest.
“We have two types of targeted customers; Big Pharma that wants to outsource some of its bioinformatics work, for instance if they have too much to deal with, and small firms which do not have a bioinformatics expertise.”
The firm released Quartz Bio – which will offer biomarker data management and exploratory biomarker analysis services – independently last week as part of a €30m programme to launch new companies made up of the services and capabilities built-up at its now closed Geneva site.
It is the firm’s second offshoot this year alongside Parkinson’s research and development (R&D) specialist Prexton Therapeutics
Part of a bigger plan
The news follows the Merck Group’s – of which Merck Serono is a subsidiary – announcement it will cut 1,100 jobs from its operations over the next six years , a move which the firm said would affect all operations and businesses.
Wojcik told us the latest spin-off is part of this “restructuring programme,” and that we could soon see more firms rise from the ashes of its closed Geneva site in particular.
“I think we could see more of this from Merck,” he said adding, “there are many other projects in the pipeline, but I advise you ask Merck about that.”