US pharmaceutical giant Merck (MSD) recently signed a cooperation agreement with the Chief Scientist of Israel, a deal which will boost Israeli life sciences companies and offer collaboration on joint technology projects.

The Chief Scientist will assist Merck in identifying Israeli companies that are ripe for collaboration then grant financial support for the R&D needed for the joint project. Merck will match the government’s financing either towards a financial investment in the company, or towards equipment development. The intended result is that Merck will boost the Israeli economy and open more marketing channels overseas for Israeli companies.

“MSD is the third global pharmaceutical manufacturer to join the OCS’ global enterprise R&D cooperation program. Collaboration with MSD as well as other pharmaceutical corporations provides the opportunity to initiate further joint projects within the life sciences industry. These collaborations allow Israeli companies to conduct groundbreaking research and development that would not otherwise be possible, in addition to providing the industry in Israel with the opportunity to address the many challenges that exist in the field as well as establishing its place in the global market,” said Avi Hasson, Chief Scientist of Israel.

Sharon Alon, CEO of MSD, said: “As a society that invests in developing life-saving medicines that impact the lives of millions of people around the world, we see Israel as a hotbed for innovation in medicine. The cooperation agreement with the Chief Scientist and the accompanying option of investing in Israeli companies is the direct result of MSD’s long-standing investment in clinical research – which includes the establishment of unique oncology research centers as well as the Real World Evidence in Israel. We are proud to be able to contribute to the development of medical innovations in Israel.”

The Chief Scientist has other agreements with the likes of Intel, IBM, Oracle, GE, Deutsche Telekom, 3M, BD and Finmeccanica.

“In recent years, many companies are choosing the global enterprise R&D cooperation program as the preferred alternative for carrying out joint projects with Israeli companies,” said Hasson.