Merck Congratulates Awardees of 2015 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for Discovery Leading to River Blindness Treatment


October 5, 2015 4:15 pm ET

Co-recipient Dr. William C. Campbell Conducted his Nobel Prize-winning Work at Merck Research Laboratories

Merck (NYSE:MRK), known as MSD outside the United States and Canada,
proudly congratulates William C. Campbell, a retired scientist from
Merck Research Laboratories, who was jointly named the 2015 Nobel Prize
winner in Physiology or Medicine with Satoshi Omura for the discovery of
avermectin, which led to Merck’s development of Mectizan (ivermectin), a
treatment for river blindness (also known as onchocerciasis) in Africa,
Latin America and Yemen. They will share the prize with Youyou Tu for
her discoveries concerning a novel therapy against malaria.

River blindness is a parasitic infection that can cause intense itching,
skin discoloration, rashes, and eye disease that often leads to
permanent blindness. It is spread by the bites of infected black flies
that breed in rapidly flowing rivers in the affected countries.

“We are particularly proud of our colleague Dr. Campbell whose
innovation, passion and dedication to fighting diseases during his
30-year career at Merck enabled the development of Mectizan,” said
Kenneth C. Frazier, chairman and chief executive officer, Merck.
“Through our Mectizan Donation Program we have been working with
partners for nearly three decades to make this medicine available, free
of charge, to all those affected by river blindness. At Merck, we remain
committed to bringing the best that our science and innovation have to
offer to solve the world’s global health challenges.”

Established more than 25 years ago, the Mectizan Donation Program is the
longest-running disease-specific drug donation program and
public-private partnership of its kind. In 1998, Merck expanded the
program to include the elimination of another disease, lymphatic
filariasis. The program reaches more than 250 million people in the
affected areas annually, with more than 2 billion treatments donated
since 1987.

About Merck

Today’s Merck is a global healthcare leader working to help the world be
well. Merck is known as MSD outside the United States and Canada.
Through our prescription medicines, vaccines, biologic therapies and
animal health products, we work with customers and operate in more than
140 countries to deliver innovative health solutions. We also
demonstrate our commitment to increasing access to healthcare through
far-reaching policies, programs and partnerships. For more information,
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Lainie Keller, 908-236-5036
Claire Gillespie, 267-305-0932
Teri Loxam, 908-740-1986
Justin Holko, 908-740-1879

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