New EMD Serono spin-off will focus on infertility treatments

File photo.
File photo.

EMD Serono Inc., a Rockland-based biopharmaceutical company with nearly 900 employees in Massachusetts, announced Monday the launch of TocopheRx, a Boston spin-off company that will focus on infertility treatments.

EMD Serono is a subsidiary of Merck KGaA, a German pharmaceutical, chemical, and life sciences company. The spin-off is the result of the company’s Entrepreneur Partnership Program. An affiliate of EMD Serono will initially invest $3.2 million in seed funding. MS Ventures, the corporate venture arm of Merck Serono, will manage the investment, EMD Serono said in a press release.

“The new company creation around EMD Serono’s promising asset in the fertility space represents a unique opportunity to bring forward an innovative investigational product through externalization in a capital-efficient manner,” Merck Serono president and chief executive Belén Garijo said in a statement. “It demonstrates our continued commitment to developing the next-generation of infertility treatments and required technologies, with the goal to improve the success rate of in vitrofertilization procedures.”

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The new spin-off will focus on the development of oral follicle-stimulating hormone agonists for treatment of infertility by advancing EMD Serono’s preclinical program toward clinical testing, the company said.

Merck KGaA’s multiple sclerosis drug Rebif is marketed by EMD Serono.