The Merlin managers stated that Woodford had been 'known to the team for a long time', as they had invested in his former funds at Invesco Perpetual.
'It is important to stress that we also continue to support his ex-colleague Mark Barnett, who now heads up the UK team at Invesco Perpetual,' they added.
The team, headed by John Chatfeild-Roberts, said they were 'very excited about the long-term prospects' of both Woodford's and Barnett's funds.
'We were very happy investors for many years in Neil Woodford's funds while he worked at Invesco Perpetual and have supported him in his new venture,' commented Chatfeild-Roberts.
'We believe that both Neil and Mark are very talented long-term investors and are excited about the potential returns they could generate for our portfolios and, as a result, our investors.'
Citywire A-rated Woodford has returned 48% over the past three years, versus an average of 40.1% from his UK Equity Income sector, and raised a record £1.6 billion for his new fund during its June offer period. The fund now contains £2.2 billion.
Citywire AAA-rated Barnett, who sits in the same Citywire sector as Woodford, has returned an average of 59.1% through his funds in the category during the three-year period.
The giant Merlin Income fund, a Citywire Selection pick, has returned 21.4% over the past three years compared with an average of 16.9% from its Mixed Assets - Balanced peer group. It also has a top-quartile maximum drawdown and Sharpe ratio for the period.