Merck Announces Retirement of Dr. Roger M. Perlmutter; Dr. Dean Y. Li Appointed as President, Merck Research Laboratories


October 2, 2020 8:00 am ET

KENILWORTH, N.J.--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Merck (NYSE: MRK), known as MSD outside the United States and Canada, today announced that Dr. Roger M. Perlmutter will be retiring as Executive Vice President and President, Merck Research Laboratories (MRL). Dr. Perlmutter will be succeeded by Dr. Dean Y. Li, effective Jan. 1, 2021. Dr. Perlmutter will remain as a non-executive director, MRL through June 30, 2021 to facilitate a seamless transition.

“Since rejoining the company seven years ago, Dr. Roger Perlmutter has had a profound impact on Merck and the patients we exist to serve. During his tenure as its President, Merck Research Laboratories have made historic breakthroughs in immuno-oncology and other fields of medicine that have both transformed clinical practice and vastly improved patient outcomes. Roger’s legacy will include a rejuvenated research and development organization, staffed by world class scientists, clinicians and professionals and led by Dr. Dean Li. As a result of Roger’s hands-on and inspirational leadership, MRL is well positioned to bring forward lifesaving medicines and vaccines for many years to come,” said Kenneth C. Frazier, chairman and chief executive officer, Merck. “I am enormously grateful for Roger’s decision to return to Merck and for his many meaningful contributions to science, medicine and the health and wellbeing of people around the world.”

Since Roger Perlmutter’s appointment as President, Merck Research Laboratories in April 2013, the company has received more than 100 regulatory approvals for its medicines and vaccines globally. This includes more than 15 novel vaccines and therapeutics, including those for multiple cancers, diabetes, and infections caused by Ebola virus, human immunodeficiency virus, hepatitis C virus and cytomegalovirus. Most notably, under Roger’s leadership, Merck has established KEYTRUDA as a foundational immunotherapy for cancer, which continues to transform cancer care throughout the world. Since its first approval, in the U.S., KEYTRUDA has received approval for over 25 indications across 16 tumor types as well as indications for microsatellite instability-high/mismatch repair deficient and tumor mutational burden-high cancers.

“It has been an honor to lead the talented people of Merck Research Laboratories during the last seven years,” said Dr. Perlmutter. “I look forward to continuing to work with Dean over the next few months to advance our scientific strategy and continue the strong momentum in our pipeline.”

Dean Li is currently Senior Vice President of Discovery Sciences and Translational Medicine, MRL. He joined Merck in 2017 as Vice President and head of Translational Medicine. Prior to joining Merck, Dr. Li held positions of increasing responsibility in translational medical research at the University of Utah. Most recently he served as the H.A. & Edna Benning Professor of Medicine and Cardiology, Chief Scientific Officer, Associate Vice President and Vice Dean at the University of Utah Health System. During his tenure at the University of Utah, he co-founded multiple biotech companies based upon research conducted in his laboratory, including Recursion Pharmaceuticals, Hydra Biosciences and Navigen Pharmaceuticals. Dean received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Chicago and his medical degree, doctorate degree, and training in clinical medicine and cardiology at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. He is a member of the American Society for Clinical Investigation and the Association of American Physicians.

“Since joining us in 2017, Dean has demonstrated strong leadership in building our discovery and translational medicine capabilities, advanced our pipeline and paved the way for Merck Research Laboratories to build on its singular legacy,” said Mr. Frazier. “Dean’s strong clinical background and deep scientific and technological expertise make him the right leader to ensure sustained execution of our broad portfolio during this important time.”

“Powerful new technologies continue to fuel important progress in enabling the discovery and development of new and better medicines and vaccines,” said Dr. Li. “I am very grateful to Roger for his mentorship and the guidance of his leadership team over the past three years and am excited by the opportunity to build upon MRL’s legacy of scientific excellence and innovation.”

About Merck

For more than 125 years, Merck, known as MSD outside of the United States and Canada, has been inventing for life, bringing forward medicines and vaccines for many of the world’s most challenging diseases in pursuit of our mission to save and improve lives. We demonstrate our commitment to patients and population health by increasing access to health care through far-reaching policies, programs and partnerships. Today, Merck continues to be at the forefront of research to prevent and treat diseases that threaten people and animals – including cancer, infectious diseases such as HIV and Ebola, and emerging animal diseases – as we aspire to be the premier research-intensive biopharmaceutical company in the world. For more information, visit and connect with us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and LinkedIn.

Forward-Looking Statement of Merck & Co., Inc., Kenilworth, N.J., USA

This news release of Merck & Co., Inc., Kenilworth, N.J., USA (the “company”) includes “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the safe harbor provisions of the U.S. Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These statements are based upon the current beliefs and expectations of the company’s management and are subject to significant risks and uncertainties. There can be no guarantees with respect to pipeline products that the products will receive the necessary regulatory approvals or that they will prove to be commercially successful. 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 the global outbreak of novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19); 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; the company’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 the company’s patents and other protections for innovative products; and the exposure to litigation, including patent litigation, and/or regulatory actions.

The company 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 the company’s 2019 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 (

Media Contacts:
Pamela Eisele
(267) 305-3558

Patrick Ryan
(973) 275-7075

Investor Contacts:
Peter Dannenbaum
(908) 740-1037

Michael DeCarbo
(908) 740-1807

Source: Merck

Unsubscribe from email alerts