Merck for Mothers and PATH Collaborate to Identify Innovations that Save Mothers’ Lives


December 5, 2011 8:08 am ET

Alliance is Key Step in Bringing Sustainable, Affordable Technologies to the Mothers Who Need Them Most

Merck (NYSE: MRK), known as MSD outside the United States and Canada,
awarded a grant to PATH, a global health nonprofit, to identify
game-changing technologies with potential to save the lives of women
during pregnancy and childbirth in low-resource settings. Spearheaded by
top scientists from Merck for Mothers and PATH, this unique alliance
will evaluate more than 30 promising technologies at various stages of
development that address the two leading causes of maternal
mortality—post-partum hemorrhage and preeclampsia—as well as family
planning. The partnership, valued at $2.5 million and extending through
Fall 2012, will integrate private- and public-sector expertise to help
evaluate affordable and easy-to-use maternal health technologies that
work in resource-poor settings.

“PATH is excited to collaborate with Merck to make measurable reductions
in maternal mortality,” said Dr. Michael J. Free, vice president and
senior advisor for technologies, PATH. “Combining our capabilities will
allow the most effective technologies to enter the market, without the
usual barriers that come from the lack of private-sector incentives.
This is an opportunity to advance needed technologies and make a great
impact on maternal health around the world.”

“There are many promising, life-saving maternal health innovations that,
left to current market forces, would not reach the mothers who need
them, when they need them, at a price they can afford,” said Dr. Naveen
Rao, who is leading Merck for Mothers. “By collaborating with PATH,
which has deep expertise in developing solutions for the world’s
greatest health problems, we will help bring important technologies to
countries where women are dying at some of the highest rates. By doing
so, we will fulfill a key part of the commitment of Merck for Mothers to
advance product development in post-partum hemorrhage, preeclampsia and
family planning toward achieving United Nations’ Millennium Development
Goal 5.”

Merck for Mothers is a new 10-year, half-billion-dollar initiative to
create a world where no woman has to die from preventable complications
of pregnancy and childbirth (
Drawing on the company’s history of discovering innovative, life-saving
medicines and vaccines, Merck for Mothers will apply Merck’s scientific
and business expertise—as well as its financial resources and experience
in taking on tough global healthcare challenges—to reduce maternal
mortality around the world. As part of its focus, the program will seek
to accelerate access to proven solutions; develop game-changing
prevention, diagnostic and treatment technologies; and support public
awareness, improved policies and broader private-sector engagement in
the area of maternal health. The collaboration with PATH is a key step
in Merck for Mothers’ rapid development of game-changing technologies in
maternal health, and the company will leverage the learnings to build an
investment strategy for accelerating the development of these

Researchers at Merck’s Development Center in Oss, Netherlands and PATH’s
Technology Solutions Global Program in Seattle will work together to
advance promising technologies in different stages of development, with
an initial goal of identifying three to five maternal health
breakthroughs in the next 12-18 months. The collaboration will evaluate
technologies in the prevention, diagnostic and treatment areas for the
different stages of pregnancy and childbirth and compare them across
multiple parameters, such as commercialization potential, user and
stakeholder acceptability and time to impact.

Potential technologies for assessment include:

— Treatments for the prevention of post-partum hemorrhage to assist
women in the third stage of labor.

— Pre-natal preeclampsia screening tool to identify high risk women and
significantly increase survival rates.

— Effective family planning interventions that are relatively easy to
use to encourage higher adherence.

About Maternal Mortality

In the next decade, it is estimated that as many as three million women
may die from complications of pregnancy and childbirth. The majority of
these maternal deaths are preventable.

The United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) seek to address
the world’s greatest development priorities, with MDG5 focused on
reducing the maternal mortality ratio by 75 percent and creating
universal access to reproductive health. However, several countries
around the world run the risk of failing to meet this goal unless
good-quality reproductive health services and well-timed interventions
are supplied.

About PATH

PATH is an international nonprofit organization that transforms global
health through innovation. PATH takes an entrepreneurial approach to
developing and delivering high-impact, low-cost solutions, from
lifesaving vaccines and devices to collaborative programs with
communities. Through its work in more than 70 countries, PATH and its
partners empower people to achieve their full potential. For more
information, please visit

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
consumer care 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, visit
and connect with us on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.

Forward-Looking Statement

This news release includes “forward-looking statements” within the
meaning of the safe harbor provisions of the United States Private
Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Such statements may include,
but are not limited to, statements about the benefits of the merger
between Merck and Schering-Plough, including future financial and
operating results, the combined company’s plans, objectives,
expectations and intentions and other statements that are not historical
facts. Such statements are based upon the current beliefs and
expectations of Merck’s management and are subject to significant risks
and uncertainties. Actual results may differ from those set forth in the
forward-looking statements.

The following factors, among others, could cause actual results to
differ from those set forth in the forward-looking statements: the
possibility that the expected synergies from the merger of Merck and
Schering-Plough will not be realized, or will not be realized within the
expected time period; the impact of pharmaceutical industry regulation
and healthcare legislation; the risk that the businesses will not be
integrated successfully; disruption from the merger making it more
difficult to maintain business and operational relationships; Merck’s
ability to accurately predict future market conditions; dependence on
the effectiveness of Merck’s patents and other protections for
innovative products; the risk of new and changing regulation and health
policies in the United States and internationally and the exposure to
litigation and/or regulatory actions.

Merck 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 Merck’s 2010 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 (

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