Merck and Baylor College of Medicine sign agreement for R&D in neglected diseases

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The collaboration includes training and exchange of technical know-how in process development and formulation, filling knowledge gaps that exist from research and development to manufacturing

Merck has formed a strategic alliance with Baylor College of Medicine (Texas, US) and its vaccine product development partnership (PDP), Texas Children’s Hospital Center for Vaccine Development (Texas Children’s CVD), to advance vaccine research and development for neglected and emerging infections.

Merck’s experts in process development and formulation are working with Texas Children’s CVD scientists at Baylor to optimise the vaccine manufacturing process to increase vaccine stability and yield. Initially, these activities are targeting schistosomiasis, a deadly parasitic disease that affects millions of people a year in tropical and subtropical regions.

“Our purpose is to solve the toughest problems in life science by collaborating with the global scientific community. The alliance with Baylor College of Medicine, one of the premier research institutions in the world, is the ideal partnership to advance vaccine development and manufacturing. Together, we will support the fight against infectious diseases,” said Udit Batra, Member of the Merck Executive Board and CEO, Life Science.

The collaboration includes training and exchange of technical know-how in process development and formulation, filling knowledge gaps that exist from research and development to manufacturing, with a focus on neglected and emerging diseases. Dr Peter Hotez, founding Dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine and co-director of the PDP, recently presented on the topic at an Access to Medicine event earlier this year in Darmstadt, Germany.

“We are excited to partner with Merck in order to advance this important vaccine. Today, schistosomiasis is considered one of the world’s most devastating neglected tropical diseases, affecting hundreds of millions of the world’s poorest people. We are excited about our new collaboration with Merck to advance this lifesaving vaccine,” said Dr Hotez.

Dr Maria-Elena Bottazzi, Deputy Director of Texas Children’s Hospital Center for Vaccine Development, said, “The scientific knowledge exchange from this partnership will catalyse and accelerate the product development of much-needed vaccines against the diseases of poverty. It will serve as a framework for capacity building and will establish self-reliance in vaccine development and manufacturing around the globe.”

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