Merck Serono signs master agreement with its new spin-off

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Merck Serono signs master agreement with Quartz Bio
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, 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.”

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