A MAJOR INVESTMENT BY MERCK CANADA WILL PROVIDE SIGNIFICANT BOOST TO QUEBEC RESEARCH, SAYS Rx&D

MONTREAL, Feb. 18 /CNW/ - Rx&D President Russell Williams made the following statement to complement Merck Canada's announcement earlier today of a $6.8 million investment in AmorChem, a life science venture capital fund that will provide the necessary resources to advance research projects through the registration and marketing stages.

"The chance to innovate and improve patient health and quality of life through scientific discoveries is what motivates all those active in the life science community. In Quebec this is reflected in lasting partnerships that include not only government and industry, but also universities, hospitals, health care professionals, and the research-based pharmaceutical community.

"In light of the ferocious international competition for pharmaceutical investment, partnerships must be effective and promote constant improvement in the life sciences industry's business environment, particularly by providing patients with better access to new therapies.

"This major investment from Merck Canada—in line with the company's commitment to invest $100 million in Quebec's life sciences sector—is a perfect example of innovation investment, which will enhance Quebec's reputation as an international centre for research and innovation.

"Quebec's reputation is based on its clearly expressed desire to maintain a strong, thriving pharmaceutical research industry and provide an attractive business environment for innovation investment through unique measures like the 15 year rule, which recognizes the value of innovation in ensuring Quebecers' health and creating collective wealth, as well as the Quebec Drug Policy and the Quebec Research and Innovation Strategy. And it produces results! Quebec attracts on average 45% of all pharmaceutical R&D investment in Canada. Quebec has the highest share of R&D investment ($64) per inhabitant, far ahead of other provinces like Ontario (SECOR-PMBRB).

"It is by working together that we will consolidate the position of Quebec and Canada as leaders in the pharmaceutical research and development sector, as actions like that of Merck Canada demonstrate."

About Rx&D

Rx&D is an association of leading research-based pharmaceutical companies dedicated to improving the health of all Canadians through the discovery and development of new medicines and vaccines. Our community represents over 15,000 men and women working for 50 member companies and invests over $1 billion a year in research and development to fuel Canada's knowledge-based economy. Guided by our Code of Ethical Practices, our membership is committed to working in partnership with governments, healthcare professionals, and stakeholders in a highly ethical manner.

SOURCE CANADA'S RESEARCH-BASED PHARMACEUTICAL COMPANIES (RX

For further information:

François Lessard, Communications Telephone: 613-236-0455 E-mail: flessard@canadapharma.org

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CANADA'S RESEARCH-BASED PHARMACEUTICAL COMPANIES (RX&D)

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