Merck Canada announces $2-million grant to support personalized treatment in cancer

Ms. Jennifer Chan, Vice-President, Policy & Communications, Merck Canada Inc., Ms. Nathalie Rodrigue, President, Coalition Priorité Cancer, and Dr. Thérèse Gagnon-Kugler, Ph. D., President and General Director, PreThera, and General Director, Q-CROC. (CNW Group/Merck Canada Inc.)

MONTREAL, April 3, 2014 /CNW Telbec/ - At the 6th Annual National Conference to Defeat Cancer, organized by Coalition Priorité Cancer, Merck Canada reinforced the company's continued commitment to the Quebec life sciences research innovation sector by announcing a $2-million grant to the Quebec - Consortium de recherche en oncologie clinique (Q-CROC).

The grant received by Q-CROC will go towards biomarker-driven clinical research for personalized medicine in cancer, notably in the framework of a public-private partnership put forward by Q-CROC and the newly-formed Centre of Excellence PreThera Research.

"Oncology is a priority area for Merck and we are dedicated to bringing forward innovations that can make a meaningful difference in the lives of patients with cancer", said Dr. Thomas R. Cannell, President and Managing Director, Merck Canada Inc. "This $2-million grant to Q-CROC will support patient-centered research in Québec and ultimately may help bring about advances in oncology care."

"This important contribution further solidifies our position as a provincial interface for clinical research to help bridge the gap between industry, government, healthcare establishments and the research community in Quebec. The grant from Merck Canada will allow us to get closer to our ultimate goal of providing cancer patients in Quebec with access to the most advanced and personalized medicine," said Dr. Gerald Batist, co-founder of Q-CROC and Director of the Segal Cancer Centre, Jewish General Hospital.

Merck's investment in Quebec
This announcement marks the latest contribution by Merck towards its commitment to provide $100 million over five years in biopharmaceutical R&D in Quebec. Today's announcement brings Merck's total contributions to approximately $86 million.

Note: All amounts expressed in this press release are in Canadian dollars unless otherwise noted.

About Merck
Today's Merck is a global healthcare leader working to help the world be well.  Merck is known as MSD outside the United States and Canada. Through our medicines, vaccines, biologic therapies, and consumer and animal products, we work with customers and operate in more than 140 countries to deliver innovative health solutions. We also demonstrate our commitment to increasing access to healthcare through far-reaching policies, programs and partnerships. For more information about our operations in Canada, visit www.merck.ca.

About the Quebec - Clinical Research Organization in Cancer (Q-CROC)
The Q-CROC is a provincial interface for clinical research, bridging the gap between industry, government, healthcare establishments and the research community. To address the increasingly competitive landscape for clinical research, the Q-CROC facilitates an environment for sharing knowledge, needs and strengths, thereby enticing the conduct of studies in the province and providing patients with access to new innovative treatments. Complementary to this activity, the Q-CROC provides a niche of expertise in the discovery and validation of biomarkers to predict the response or resistance to treatment. By these engagements, the Q-CROC aims to position the province of Québec at the national and international forefront of personalized medicine in cancer, so that patients can access the most cutting-edge treatments. For more information about Q-CROC, please visit www.qcroc.ca.

About PreThera Research

The Business-Led Network of Centres of Excellence in Precision Therapeutics (PreThera Research) will help develop cancer treatments that are increasingly personalized for patients by combining the latest discoveries in cancer biology with new approaches to clinical trials. The network's research program will take advantage of the current understanding that almost all tumours can be divided into smaller groups with a unique biomarker - a molecular signature that can be targeted by a specific drug. Using a growing database that identifies these biomarkers and the patients that have them, PreThera Research will make it possible to accelerate the identification of innovative new drugs and bring them to the medical field. This will be accomplished by identifying patients that are most likely to respond to a precise treatment for their greater benefit and that of the Life Science Industry and the health care system.  www.prethera.ca

The news release is available at www.cnw.ca.

Forward Looking Statement
This news release includes "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the safe harbor provisions of the United States Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These statements are based upon the current beliefs and expectations of Merck's management and are subject to significant risks and uncertainties. There can be no guarantees with respect to pipeline products that the products will receive the necessary regulatory approvals or that they will prove to be commercially successful. If underlying assumptions prove inaccurate or risks or uncertainties materialize, actual results may differ materially from those set forth in the forward-looking statements.

Risks and uncertainties include but are not limited to, general industry conditions and competition; general economic factors, including interest rate and currency exchange rate fluctuations; the impact of pharmaceutical industry regulation and health care legislation in the United States and internationally; global trends toward health care cost containment; technological advances, new products and patents attained by competitors; challenges inherent in new product development, including obtaining regulatory approval; Merck's ability to accurately predict future market conditions; manufacturing difficulties or delays; financial instability of international economies and sovereign risk; dependence on the effectiveness of Merck's patents and other protections for innovative products; and the exposure to litigation, including patent litigation, and/or regulatory actions.

Merck undertakes no obligation to publicly update any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise. Additional factors that could cause results to differ materially from those described in the forward-looking statements can be found in Merck's 2013 Annual Report on Form 10-K and the company's other filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) available at the SEC's Internet site (www.sec.gov).

SOURCE Merck Canada Inc.

Image with caption: "Ms. Jennifer Chan, Vice-President, Policy & Communications, Merck Canada Inc., Ms. Nathalie Rodrigue, President, Coalition Priorité Cancer, and Dr. Thérèse Gagnon-Kugler, Ph. D., President and General Director, PreThera, and General Director, Q-CROC. (CNW Group/Merck Canada Inc.)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20140403_C8568_PHOTO_EN_38809.jpg

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Merck
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