Merck Canada Invests $6.8 Million in Research in Quebec

Investment in AmorChem Venture Fund will Drive Innovation in Life Sciences

MONTREAL, Feb. 18 /CNW Telbec/ - Merck Canada announced today a $6.8 million investment in AmorChem, a Quebec life sciences venture capital fund. This is the latest investment made by Merck following a commitment made in 2010 to invest an incremental $100 million over five years in biopharmaceutical research and development in Quebec. The announcement was made today at a press conference where Clément Gignac, Minister of Economic Development, Innovation, and Export Trade, participated.

"Today's announcement is a testament to Merck's commitment to biomedical research and development," said Bruno Strigini, President, Merck Global Human Health, Europe & Canada. "We recognize that investments such as these are critical to ensuring that we continue to drive innovation in Quebec and Canada for future patient benefit."

AmorChem is a venture capital fund that invests in biopharmaceutical research in Quebec. The fund was announced in the 2009-2010 Quebec budget, and was established by the Quebec government, Fonds de solidarité FTQ and various investors, as part of Quebec's biopharmaceutical strategy to develop and support the industrial cluster. Merck is the only major pharmaceutical company to invest in the fund.

"This is a synergistic collaboration between government and industry that will drive innovation and help continue to build a stronger Quebec," said Clément Gignac, Minister of Economic Development, Innovation and Export Trade. "Quebec is recognized and well-established as a research and development hub and investments such as these are vital. We congratulate Merck for taking this industry leadership role in making this investment."

Amorchem plans to invest in promising Quebec research initiatives and technologies in the life sciences to give them the necessary resources to advance research projects toward licensing or commercialization. It will also create opportunities to keep talented researchers in Quebec, including seven former employees of Merck Canada.

"Amorchem brings an exciting new model for life science seed investments in Quebec. We will fund very early-stage therapeutic, diagnostic and medical device projects in order to rapidly reap the commercial benefits of the bustling academic R&D going on in the province. By focusing on value creation rather than forming companies, we hope to foster innovation at a lower cost," said Louis Lacasse, President of AmorChem.

Last month, Merck announced a new $5 million investment in the Quebec Consortium for Drug Discovery (CQDM), another major organization supporting early-stage biopharmaceutical research in Quebec.

About Merck

Today's Merck is working to help the world be well. Merck is a global health care leader with a diversified portfolio of prescription medicines, vaccines, consumer and animal health products. In Canada, Merck markets over 530 pharmaceutical, consumer and animal health products and is a leader in a broad range of areas such as cardiology, immunology, infectious diseases, respiratory, vaccines, women's health and sun care, and is focused on expanding offerings in other areas, including virology, oncology and diabetes.

Merck is one of the top 25 R&D investors in Canada, with an investment of $95.4 million in 2009. Merck also has a large manufacturing facility in Quebec dedicated to the annual production of some 35 million units including the Claritin and Aerius brands.  Based in Montréal, Quebec, Merck employs over 1600 people across Canada.  For more information about our operations in Canada, visit www.merck.ca.

Forward-Looking Statement

This information includes "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the safe harbor provisions of the United States Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995.  Such statements may include, but are not limited to, statements about the benefits of the proposed merger between Merck and Schering-Plough, including future financial and operating results, the combined company's plans, objectives, expectations and intentions and other statements that are not historical facts.  Such statements are based upon the current beliefs and expectations of Merck's and Schering-Plough's management and are subject to significant risks and uncertainties.  Actual results may differ from those set forth in the forward-looking statements.

The following factors, among others, could cause actual results to differ from those set forth in the forward-looking statements: the possibility that the expected synergies from the merger of Merck and Schering-Plough will not be realized, or will not be realized within the expected time period, due to, among other things, the impact of pharmaceutical industry regulation and pending legislation that could affect the pharmaceutical industry; the risk that the businesses will not be integrated successfully; disruption from the merger making it more difficult to maintain business and operational relationships; Merck's ability to accurately predict future market conditions; dependence on the effectiveness of Merck's patents and other protections for innovative products; the risk of new and changing regulation and health policies in the U.S. and internationally and the exposure to 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 2008 Annual Report on Form 10-K, Schering-Plough's Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the quarterly period ended Sept. 30, 2009, the proxy statement filed by Merck on June 25, 2009 and each company's other filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) available at the SEC's Internet site (www.sec.gov).

SOURCE MERCK

For further information:

Media Contact:
 
Marc Osborne Marie-Christine Ethier
MERCK HKDP Communications and public affairs
(514) 428-3275     (514) 212-3503

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