Merck Partners with Academic Scientists and Biotechnology Entrepreneurs to Create the California Institute for Biomedical Research (Calibr)


March 15, 2012 8:00 am ET

Calibr Presents a New Paradigm for Academic-Industry Cooperation

WHITEHOUSE STATION, N.J. & SAN DIEGO–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Merck, known outside the United States and Canada as MSD, today announced a collaboration to create the California Institute for Biomedical Research (Calibr), an independent, not-for-profit organization (501c3) established to accelerate the translation of basic biomedical research into innovative, new medicines to treat disease.

Calibr will be led by Peter G. Schultz, Ph.D., a world-renowned chemist and biotechnology entrepreneur. The Institute will offer academic scientists, around the world, a streamlined, efficient and flexible path for translating their biomedical research into novel medicines.

“Calibr represents a new paradigm for early-stage translational research,” said Dr. Schultz, director of Calibr and Scripps Professor of Chemistry at The Scripps Research Institute. “By leveraging the drug discovery expertise and resources of Calibr, academic researchers will have the opportunity to maximize the potential therapeutic value of their research.”

Calibr investigators will work collaboratively with academic scientists to advance new discoveries to preclinical proof of concept at which stage commercial partnerships will be sought for further development.

Merck will provide funding to Calibr of up to $90 million over a period of seven years. Merck has an option to obtain an exclusive commercial license to any proteins or small molecule therapeutic candidates derived from work conducted by Calibr.

For any projects not licensed by Merck, Calibr will be free to seek alternative sources of funding for further development. In addition, the Institute plans to access funds from government and non-government sources. Revenues derived from licenses will be shared between Calibr and the collaborating institutions.

Project proposals from the scientific community will be chosen on the basis of novelty, biomedical impact and technical feasibility and reviewed by a scientific advisory board headed by Christopher T. Walsh, Ph.D., Hamilton Kuhn Professor, Department of Biological Chemistry and Pharmacology, Harvard University. In addition, an independent board of directors headed by John D. Diekman, Ph.D., founder and managing partner of 5AM Ventures will oversee the activities of the Institute.

“Effective translation of basic biomedical research is essential to advancing the next generation of novel therapies,” said Peter S. Kim, Ph.D., president, Merck Research Laboratories and member of Calibr scientific advisory board. “Calibr will provide an important venue where basic research and drug discovery scientists may leverage each others’ strengths in the fight against disease.”

Calibr will be located in San Diego, Calif., in close proximity to The Scripps Research Institute, Salk Institute, University of California, San Diego and Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute. Calibr will be equipped with the latest high through-put screening and imaging, medicinal and protein chemistry and preclinical sciences capabilities.

About Calibr

The California Institute for Biomedical Research (Calibr), is an independent, not-for-profit organization (501c3) established to accelerate the translation of basic biomedical research into innovative, new medicines to treat disease. It has been designed to provide expertise and resources for academic scientists to maximize the therapeutic potential of their discoveries. The institute was founded by Peter G. Schultz, Ph.D., with funding from Merck.

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 all of 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 health care legislation in the United States and internationally; Merck’s ability to accurately predict future market conditions; dependence on the effectiveness of Merck’s patents and other protections for innovative products; 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 2011 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 (

Ian R. McConnell, 908-423-3046
Carol Ferguson, 908-423-4465

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