Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Merck plans Quebec pharmaceutical fund

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MONTREAL -- Merck Canada is partnering with Lumira Capital and other venture capital firms to launch a multimillion-dollar research and development fund to attract pharmaceutical firms to Quebec.

The Montreal-based subsidiary of the U.S. pharmaceutical giant is set to announce an investment Monday to create the Merck-Lumira BioScience Fund. The fund will initially be worth several tens of millions of dollars, The Canadian Press has learned.

Merck has committed to investing $100 million through 2015 in biopharmaceutical research and development collaborations with Quebec-based companies and academic institutions.

It announced in mid-2010 the elimination of 200 jobs with the closure of its Montreal lab, once the largest research facility in Canada.

Merck has developed several drugs in Canada and markets 530 pharmaceutical, consumer and animal health products. It has focused on expanding offerings in virology, oncology and diabetes.

Quebec Economic Development Minister Sam Hamad is expected to participate in the announcement Monday, but the provincial government isn't immediately providing funding, sources said.

Lumira Capital invests in market-leading health and life sciences companies and works with them to maximize profitable returns.

Jacques Bernier, managing partner of Teralys Capital, who has urged companies to support Quebec entrepreneurs and technology, is also expected at the event. Teralys Capital's funds are focused on technology companies in the life sciences, information technology and cleantech sectors.

-- The Canadian Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition March 23, 2012 B7

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