Merck Pours $17M Into Physicians Interactive’s Web Tools for Docs

Marlborough, MA-based Physicians Interactive Holdings announced today that it has formed a deal with Merck Global Health Innovation Fund, a unit of the Whitehouse Station, NJ-based drug giant. Merck (NYSE: MRK) has pledged $8.5 million up front and another $8.5 million in milestone payments to Physicians Interactive, which was founded in 2008 and makes a range of mobile and Web-based tools for healthcare professionals and life sciences companies.

The company will use the money to further the development of four product lines: digital marketing tools, data analytics, online platforms for selling drug samples, and mobile products such as MedAlert—a service that sends news, research updates, and drug information to doctors’ cell phones. Donato Tramuto, CEO of Physicians Interactive, says the funding will also help the company explore new market opportunities.

This marks the second large financing of a Boston-area company by Merck in the last month. In December, Merck led a $10 million funding of Cambridge, MA-based HIV diagnostics developer Daktari. Merck’s $250 million Global Health Innovation Fund was set up in 2010 to fund startups pursuing several health-related endeavors, including health informatics.

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