This week’s Filter finds Merck jumping (late) into the VC and Twitterspheres and a round-up of agbiotech news from the Southern hemisphere. As always, we welcome your comments and questions.
- • The second largest US drug company has announced the formation of the $250 million Merck Venture Research Fund, which will partner with venture firms to invest in biotech start-ups around the world. They’ll also impart advice to portfolio companies as well as serve as a potential partner once their programs mature sufficiently. Have a pitch? Hit them up on Twitter: @Merck.
- • At last week’s Agricultural Biotechnology International Conference (ABIC) in Johannesburg, National Research Council Canada executive director Jerome Konecsni reiterated the importance of agbiotech to produce healthy food and create employment.
- • As if in response, this week Brazil approved the first fully locally developed GMO: transgenic beans resistant to golden mosaic virus, which can destroy up to 85% of the bean crop. Brazil is the world’s largest producer and consumer of beans.