Merck makes its first co-incubation programme in Hong Kong through a partnership with the Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation (HKSTP) to accelerate the development of digital health solutions, including digital therapeutics, digital wearable devices and AI drug discovery and development, to address unmet medical needs.
With increasing demand from patients, healthcare service providers and other stakeholders to digitalise the patient journey, HKSTP and Merck will collaborate to open up new R&D opportunities for startups.
The partnership is expected to boost the city’s position as a biotech hub.
“Hong Kong has boundless potential and innovative capacities, and the innovations in digital health are reshaping future healthcare. Through various support, mentorship initiatives and co-incubation programs, we are keen to promote and nurture the best start-up companies that augment the landscape of digital health solutions in the country,” said Boonhuey Ee, managing director of Merck Hong Kong. “We look forward to witnessing exciting ideas spring from this programme, ones that will benefit patients in need and make a positive impact on the wider community.”
Merck, a leading science, and technology company, operates across healthcare, life science and electronics. It has approximately 60,000 employees in 66 countries, working on various areas from advancing gene editing technologies and discovering unique ways to treat the most challenging diseases to enabling the intelligence of devices.
Rapid commercialisation of digital health products
The three-year collaboration between the two organisations hopes to pave the way for startups around the globe to rapidly commercialise digital health products by leveraging the full capacity of HKSTP’s ecosystem and Merck’s extensive investor and strategic partner network.
Merck will provide deep industry insight and help connect promising startups to Merck’s Innovation Hub strategic partners and business units to explore market opportunities in emerging markets.
“HKSTP and Merck share the same vision of impacting life and health with science and technology, we aim to get together world-class scientists, entrepreneurs and game changers to innovate for good. This partnership provides an ideal environment to co-incubate ground-breaking ideas from research to market-ready solutions and impactful innovation, while fulfilling the vision of transforming Hong Kong into a global biotech hub,” said Albert Wong, CEO at HKSTP.
Supported by the thriving biotech ecosystem in Hong Kong and the city’s status as the second largest biotech fundraising hub in the world, the co-incubation partnership operates under the HKSTP’s existing Incu-Bio programme which provides startups with direct funding of up to HK$6M, investment opportunities, connections to HKSTP’s biomedical cluster and lab facilities to bring ideation to commericalisation.
This is all directed under HKSTP’s Institute for Translational Research (ITR) which is an ecosystem-wide platform dedicated to driving transformation in healthcare, by accelerating the whole process of turning biomedical research into impactful innovation.
The current partnership also provides potential for HKSTP and Merck to explore further collaboration on additional scopes such as smart manufacturing and electronics.