Our decision to refocus Merck's research and development efforts on nine priority disease areas represents a significant change in our approach to discovering and developing new medicines and vaccines. In the past, Merck pursued all areas of unmet medical need. Under our new strategy, we are now prioritizing our areas of research, based on scientific opportunity and value to our customers.
The nine priority disease areas represent many of the world's most critically important health care challenges: Alzheimer's disease, atherosclerosis, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, novel vaccines, obesity, cancer, pain and sleep disorders.
In each area, our goal is to make Merck the acknowledged leader in treating or preventing disease. To do so, we will build scientific leadership in these areas and commit the resources needed. And we will pursue acquisitions and licensing opportunities that will complement the work we do in our labs. Although these nine areas are our top priority, Merck's scientists will still work in other areas, but against specific targets, rather than across the broader category.
Merck's Plan to Win is centered on five strategic actions.
We are prioritizing our areas of research, based on scientific opportunity and value to our customers.