Merck Announces a Contribution of $7.5 Million to the Structural Genomics Consortium (SGC) Toronto

TORONTO, February 4, 2015 /CNW/ - At an announcement made earlier today at MaRS Discovery District, Merck, known as MSD outside the United States and Canada, confirmed its commitment to research and innovation by contributing a total of $7.5 million to the Structural Genomics Consortium (SGC) Toronto and its network, thereby becoming a member of the consortium.

The supported projects focus on pre-competitive research to develop small inhibitory molecules called chemical probes to study epigenetic mechanisms of regulation. In collaboration with leading clinical institutions in Ontario and around the world, use of the probes will expand the understanding of biology in multiple disease areas, particularly cancer and inflammatory diseases.

SGC's track record for delivering high-quality science, along with Toronto's ecosystem of world-class hospitals and research labs as well as a strong commitment of collaboration between government and industry, make SGC a research partner of choice.

"At Merck, we strive to identify and support research areas that will have the most impact on fulfilling the unmet medical needs of patients, who are at the core of everything we do. In Canada, Merck is very pleased to be able to encourage innovation and research across an established SGC collaborative network of more than 250 academic laboratories at leading institutions," said Chirfi Guindo, President and Managing Director, Merck Canada Inc.

Developing an "open source" public-private partnership

The SGC is creating an "open source" public-private partnership that generates knowledge, technologies, and research tools to discover and characterize "pioneer" drug discovery targets. The partnership will leverage past and future investments made into the SGC by its public and private sector funders, and SGC's large network of collaborators based at leading academic institutions worldwide. The overarching aim of the partnership is to enable private sector funders to advance a significant number of pioneer targets into proprietary drug discovery programs.

"The Government of Ontario applauds Merck's donation to the Structural Genomics Consortium (SGC).  This donation will contribute to the 'open-sourced' information available for the public and private sectors and lead to new innovative technologies and medications. Ontario recognizes that in a highly competitive global economy, collaborations like this are critical to propel Ontario forward as a world leader in life sciences," said the Honourable Reza Moridi, Ontario Minister of Research and Innovation.

"At the heart of our partnership is a commitment to transparency and quality.  We'd like to thank the Ontario government for supporting the ecosystem that enables our project, and also to thank our scientific collaborators in Merck and in the Ontario hospitals who share the commitment to open science," said Dr. Aled Edwards, founding and current CEO of the Structural Genomics Consortium (SGC).

Merck remains committed to supporting innovative research in Canada and around the world.

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 prescription medicines, vaccines, biologic therapies, and animal health 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 Structural Genomics Consortium (SGC)

The SGC accelerates research in new areas of human biology and drug discovery by making all its research output available to the scientific community with no strings attached, and by creating an open collaborative network of scientists in hundreds of universities around the world and in nine global pharmaceutical companies.  SGC is funded by Abbvie, Bayer, Boehringer Ingelheim, Canada Foundation for Innovation, Eli Lilly Canada, Genome Canada, GlaxoSmithKline, Janssen, Merck Canada, Novartis, Ontario Ministry of Research & Innovation, Pfizer, Takeda, and the Wellcome Trust. For more information about Aled Edwards and Structural Genomics Consortium, please visit http://www.thesgc.org/.

The news release and photograph are 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. 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

Image with caption: "This morning at MaRS Discovery District, Merck confirmed its commitment to research and innovation with a $7.5 million contribution to the Structural Genomics Consortium Toronto. (From left to right) Dr. Ronan O?Hagan, Dr. Aled Edwards, The Honourable Reza Moridi, Mr. Chirfi Guindo and Ms. Jennifer Chan. (CNW Group/Merck)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20150204_C4151_PHOTO_EN_11823.jpg

For further information: Ani Armenian, Merck, 514-428-3395, ani.armenian@merck.com; D'arci McFadden, NATIONAL Public Relations, 647-967-1761, dmcfadden@national.ca


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