Merck to Develop Next-Generation Purification Processes with International Vaccine Institute

- Company to provide expertise on clarification and purification

- Collaboration will improve manufacturing processes to deliver greater yield, allowing higher recovery and providing higher purity vaccines

DARMSTADT, Germany, June 28, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Merck [], a leading science and technology company, has entered a research agreement with the International Vaccine Institute [] (IVI) of Seoul, South Korea to help develop more robust, scalable vaccine manufacturing processes. Merck will provide funding and expertise in the areas of clarification and purification.

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The IVI is a nonprofit international organization committed to the discovery, development and delivery of safe, effective and affordable vaccines for global public health. The new collaboration between Merck and IVI is aimed at improving the manufacturing process to deliver greater yield, allowing higher recovery and purer vaccines. Many vaccine manufacturers in the United States and Western Europe face high manufacturing costs, and the partnership aims to address these challenges.

"Complex manufacturing processes along with poor yield and recovery result in vaccines that are not easily affordable by resource-challenged countries," said Udit Batra, Member of the Merck Executive Board and CEO, Life Science []. "Through our partnership with IVI, we will help create a more modern, scalable and robust manufacturing process, which in turn will help increase access to life-saving vaccines in developing countries."

IVI was founded on the belief that the health of children in developing countries can be dramatically improved through access to new and improved vaccines, according to Jerome Kim, M.D., Director General of IVI. "We expect that our collaboration with Merck will result in important dividends to a large population of people with unmet medical needs," said Kim. "This partnership will help us better address the vaccine needs of low- and middle-income countries and ultimately contribute to our mission."

Initially, the project will focus on a vaccine for typhoid, with the goal of applying findings to the processes for pneumococcal, meningococcal, haemophilus, staphylococcus, streptococcus B and other conjugated polysaccharide vaccines.

With a rapidly expanding pipeline of conjugated polysaccharide vaccines, the global pharmaceutical industry needs next-generation processes for clarification and purification to ensure high-quality, affordable vaccines. Through this partnership with IVI, Merck will apply its industry-leading technologies and expertise to this challenge, which in turn will help optimize other vaccine manufacturing processes.

This initiative is part of Merck's corporate responsibility program which focuses on expanding access to high-quality healthcare, especially in low- and middle-income countries. As part of this initiative, Merck leverages its expertise and collaborates with strong partners to develop solutions for patients in these geographies.

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About Merck

Merck is a leading science and technology company in healthcare, life science and performance materials. Around 50,000 employees work to further develop technologies that improve and enhance life - from biopharmaceutical therapies to treat cancer or multiple sclerosis, cutting-edge systems for scientific research and production, to liquid crystals for smartphones and LCD televisions. In 2015, Merck generated sales of EUR 12.85 billion in 66 countries.

Founded in 1668, Merck is the world's oldest pharmaceutical and chemical company. The founding family remains the majority owner of the publicly listed corporate group. The company holds the global rights to the Merck name and brand. The only exceptions are the United States and Canada, where the company operates as EMD Serono, MilliporeSigma and EMD Performance Materials.

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