Israel innovation makes up half of Merck healthcare revenue, top official says

...Beckmann spoke with The Times of Israel as the German giant, which employs 52,000 employees globally and had total sales of ?15 billion in 2016, inaugurated on Tuesday a new technology innovation laboratory at its subsidiary, Qlight Nanotech in Jerusalem, which it bought in mid-2015 to boost its expertise in liquid crystal display materials and OLED materials.

Qlight was awarded the Chief Scientist’s prize for nanotechnology at the Israel Nanotech event in March 27 2014. (L to R) Chief Scientist of the Ministry of Economy of the State of Israel, Dr. Avi Hasson, Qlight Nanotech’s VP R&D, Professor Uri Banin, Qlight Nanotech’s founder and CTO, Yaacov Michlin, CEO of Yissum and Chairman of the Board of Qlight Nanotech, and Dr. Volker Hilarius, Director International Projects at Merck. (Courtesy)

The lab, situated at the Hebrew University’s Edmund J. Safra Campus, will be doing innovative quantum materials research for Merck by tapping into its own pool of researchers and those at other universities in Israel as well.

Merck has been active in Israel for over 50 years, employing more than 300 people, mainly scientists. The firm has research sites and technologies incubators in Yavne, Herzliya, Rehovot and Jerusalem. All three of its business sectors, healthcare, life science and performance materials, have R&D sites in Israel.

The performance materials sector is Merck’s?smallest sector, said Beckmann, with ?2.5 billion in revenues in 2016, but its most profitable, he said.

The Merck family, which holds 70 percent of the firm, sees the three sectors as a way to diversify their activities and lower risk. “In performance materials we are a specialty player that is active in all kinds of high-tech industries,” Beckmann said, including LED displays, quantum materials, automotive paint pigments and surface solutions...

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