A “deluge” of opportunities presented themselves to Merck Serono after the Switzerland-based biotechnology company lifted the lid on its corporate venturing fund last year and provided almost immediate justification for the decision to start a €40m ($49m) in-house venture capital operation.

Receiving more than 400 business plans in the first nine months, however, caused some difficulties. The Merck Serono Ventures team of two under Roel Bulthuis was swamped, and their commitment to respond to all applications meant the team…

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