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We're in the business of helping people feel better and live healthier lives. Figuring out how to do it is just the first step.

Discovery and DevelopmentThanks to our world-class researchers, state-of-the-art technologies and unrelenting focus on scientific excellence, Merck is at the forefront of discovering and developing innovative ways to treat and prevent disease.

Before we can develop a new medicine or vaccine, we need to understand the basics. How exactly does the disease or condition work? And how can we potentially alter these underlying processes to help prevent or treat disease?

It takes a long time to identify a potential new treatment. Teams of scientists might screen thousands of molecules to identify a promising lead. That candidate will then need to be refined, optimized and tested in clinical trials before we can apply for regulatory approval.

As part of the initial screening process, our researchers look at many different considerations, including:

  • Is the safety profile appropriate for use in patients with a particular disease?
  • Does the candidate potentially have the desired effect?
  • What is the best means of administration?
  • Could it potentially provide improvement over existing options?

A very small fraction of the candidates that begin evaluation will ultimately survive the tough process of research, development and testing to finally become medicines.

We spend billions of dollars each year to identify and develop medicines and vaccines that can help people around the world. Thanks to the talent and tenacity of our researchers – combined with the scientific and technological advances of the past decade – we are in an exciting period of discovery at Merck as we continue to seek new and innovative ways to improve health.

For more information about the drug discovery and development process, visit

Did You Know?

Our automated biotechnology laboratory houses state-of-the-art technologies, including industrial robots, that enable us to measure the biological activity of thousands of compounds – or combinations of compounds – against hundreds of potential targets at the same time. In fact, we can screen an entire library of potential medicines in a few days – a feat that would have been unthinkable 10 years ago. The automated biotechnology laboratory provides us with an incredible amount of information about disease processes and how we can alter them in our quest to prevent and treat disease.


EngageZone aims to enhance collaboration among our partners – clinical investigators, contract manufacturing organizations and clinical researchers. Our goal is to provide investigators, sponsors, researchers and contract research organization partners with a robust way to access and exchange information. The introduction of the Merck Partner Portal is an example of how Merck will continue to lead the pharmaceutical industry by becoming your Scientific Partner of Choice.

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