Merck KGaA recently launched a corporate venture capital fund called Merck Serono Ventures. The fund intends to invest $54 million in biotechnology startups over the next five years. Even Google’s new venture arm plans to invest in biotechnology companies. It’s a bit of a surprising move; most life sciences corporate venture groups have not fared well. Merck Capital Ventures, for example, was shut down last year. Fred Wilson has some great comments on the inherent conflicts of corporate venture capital arms on his blog, A VC. Nonetheless, this is good news for startups trying to raise capital in a very challenging environment.