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Merck Launches “More than a Mother” Campaign Aiming to Reduce Social Suffering of Infertile Women in Africa

  • “More than a Mother” will first be implemented in Kenya in partnership with University of Nairobi and Kenya Women Parliamentary Association and progressively rolled out in further African countries

Nairobi, Kenya, June 23, 2015 – Merck, a leading company for innovative, top-quality high-tech products in healthcare, life science and performance materials, today announced the launch of the “More than a Mother” campaign as part of the Merck Capacity Advancement Program. The campaign will first be implemented in Kenya, in collaboration with the University of Nairobi and the Kenya Women Parliamentary Association, and progressively rolled out in further African countries.

In some cultures, childless women still suffer discrimination, stigma and ostracism. As such, a central difficulty associated with infertility is that it can transform from an acute, private distress into a harsh, public stigma with complex and devastating consequences. An inability to have a child or to become pregnant can result in being greatly isolated, disinherited or assaulted. This may result in divorce or physical and psychological violence.

Belén Garijo, Member of the Executive Board of Merck and CEO Merck Healthcare, while signing off the campaign during her meeting with the University of Nairobi and the Kenya Women Parliamentary Association

Belén Garijo, Member of the Executive Board of Merck and CEO Merck Healthcare, while kicking off the campaign during her meeting with the University of Nairobi and the Kenya Women Parliamentary Association

“Providing access to infertility care is important, but it is even more important to intervene to decrease stigmatization and social suffering arising from this condition,” said Belén Garijo, Member of the Executive Board of Merck and CEO Healthcare at Merck, during her meeting with the University of Nairobi and the Kenya Women Parliamentary Association to kick off the campaign.

Merck’s Capacity Advancement Program (CAP) forms a key pillar of the Group’s Corporate Responsibility activities in the strategic area of activity health. The 5-year program aims at expanding the professional capacity in developing countries in the areas such as research and development, advocacy building, medical education or community awareness. By the end of 2018, Merck plans to target more than 19,000 students in African, Asian, Latin American and Middle Eastern countries, with special focus on non–communicable diseases such as diabetes, cancer and fertility management.

Prof. Koigi Kamau, University of Nairobi stressed: “Through the “More than a Mother” campaign, we will challenge the perception about infertile women, their roles and worth in society, both within and beyond the medical profession in order to achieve any systemic shift in the current culture of gender discrimination in the context of fertility care.”

The program will provide medical education and awareness for medical students and general practitioners and will also support governments to define policies to improve access to safe and effective fertility care, address the need for interventions to reduce stigmatization and social suffering of infertile women and raise awareness about male infertility and the necessity for a team approach to family building among couples.

Through this campaign Merck, a pioneer in reproductive health, will address together with local stakeholders, the key challenges that are associated with resource-constrained settings such as prevention of infertility, education and self-development, regulation of assisted reproductive technology (ART) and in-vitro fertilization (IVF), geographic barriers, reproductive rights and over-population and limited resources arguments. A particular emphasis will be put on prevention programs, as infertility is caused by infections in over 85% of women in the Sub-Saharan region, compared to 33% worldwide.

Hon. Joyce Lay, Member of the Kenyan Parliament, emphasized: “In order to improve access to safe and effective fertility care, a discussion with the relevant authorities will be needed to discuss the strengthening of infertility services, education, auditing, regulation, community awareness and the need to integrate them in programs which already exist in the local health infrastructure.”

About the Merck Capacity Advancement Program (CAP)
The Merck CAP is a 5-year program aiming to expand the professional capacity in developing countries in the areas of research and development, advocacy building, supply-chain integrity and efficiency, pharmacovigilance, medical education, and community awareness.

As part of the CAP, by end of 2015, more than 5,000 medical students in partnership with African universities such as University of Nairobi, Makerere University, Namibia University and University of Ghana, in addition to Asian universities such as Maharashtra university, India and University of Indonesia will benefit from European-accredited clinical chronic diseases management training, which is seeking to equip them with skills to better manage and prevent these diseases.

Merck is planning to target more than 19,000 students by the end of 2018 expanding to more African, Asian, Latin American and Middle Eastern countries with special focus on non–communicable diseases such as diabetes, cancer and fertility management. The program will also kick off initiatives on building research capacity and improving supply chain in order to improve patient safety in Africa.

 
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Posted by on June 24, 2015 in Merck, Merck Serono

 

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Merck Serono’s MSdialog Wins Medical Design Excellence Award (MDEA) 2015 in the Category Readers Choice

  • MSdialog software chosen out of 45 entries by popular vote as winner for favorite product
  • MSdialog designed to provide multiple sclerosis (MS) patients on Rebif (interferon beta-1a) and health care providers with injection history, treatment adherence information and health reports
  • Award recognizes Merck Serono’s commitment to innovation and providing solutions to engage people with MS and their healthcare providers

Darmstadt, Germany, June 22, 2015 – Merck Serono, the biopharmaceutical business of Merck, today announced that MSdialog, the company’s digital-tracking software for people living with MS, has been chosen as the winner of this year’s Medical Design Excellence Awards (MDEA) Readers’ Choice Award, as well as honored as a finalist in the Rehabilitation and Assistive-Technology Products category for its compelling and innovative design. MDEA are the premier awards for the medical technology industry that honor the highest caliber medical devices on the market today.

Meeta Gulyani, Head of Global Strategy and Franchises, Merck Serono

Meeta Gulyani, Head of Global Strategy and Franchises, Merck Serono

Innovations are at the heart of Merck and its businesses like Merck Serono. In this biopharmaceutical business it is not only about innovations with new drugs but also with their applications by the patients. In this field Merck Serono also has a leading position which is more and more recognized and honored by the outside world for example with two Red Dot Design Awards announced last week and now with the Medical Design Excellence Awards (MDEA) Readers’ Choice Award.

“We are thrilled to be honored as the Readers Choice winner and an MDEA category finalist as it recognizes our commitment to innovation and to providing unique health care solutions to patients,” said Meeta Gulyani, Head of Global Strategy and Franchises at Merck Serono. “This award also acknowledges our position as a leading designer and developer in the medical device industry. To date, MSdialog has offered thousands of people with MS and their care team an efficient way to monitor their treatment adherence, track symptoms and improve the quality of conversations during visits with their HCPs. We are also delighted to recognize the contribution of our design partner, S3 Group, who played an important role in the design and delivery of MSdialog.”

Finalists will be featured in this month’s issue of Medical Device and Diagnostic Industry, a leading publication for the medical technology industry. The gold, silver and bronze winners in each category, in addition to Readers’ Choice and Best-in-Show Awards, were announced on June 9th at the official ceremony in New York City.

msdialog-opening-a-new-dialogue-in-ms-85913053MSdialog is a multi-tenant cloud-based software system for the management of MS that captures and presents patient outcome data to enable better decision-making by patients and providers. The software system provides patients with reminders to take their Rebif® (interferon beta-1a) medication, synchronizes with the RebiSmart® 2 auto-injector, monitors patient’s adherence information to their treatment, and monitors clinical data. MSdialog also allows people with MS to engage in the management of their disease by asking them to complete periodic health report questionnaires based on short forms of published instruments and standard scales, such as the Multiple Sclerosis Quality of Life Inventory (MSQLI) and the Multiple Sclerosis International Quality of Life (MusiQoL) questionnaires.

MSdialog is now available in 31 countries (not available in the United States).

About Medical Design Excellence Awards
Sponsored by MD+DI and organized by UBM Canon, MDEA is the premier awards program for the medical technology community. It recognizes the achievements of medical device manufacturers, their suppliers, and the many people behind the scenes—engineers, scientists, designers, and clinicians—who are responsible for the groundbreaking innovations that are changing the face of healthcare. MDEA-winning entries excel in the areas of product innovation, design and engineering achievement, end-user benefit, and cost-effectiveness in manufacturing and healthcare delivery.

About Rebif
Rebif (interferon beta-1a) is a disease-modifying drug used to treat relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis (MS) and is similar to the interferon beta protein produced by the human body. The efficacy of Rebif in chronic progressive MS has not been established. Interferon ß is thought to help reduce inflammation. The exact mechanism is unknown. Rebif, which was approved in Europe in 1998 and in the US in 2002, is registered in more than 90 countries worldwide. Rebif has been proven to delay the progression of disability, reduce the frequency of relapses and reduce MRI lesion activity and area*. Rebif can be administrated with the RebiSmart electronic auto-injection device, or with the RebiDose single-use disposable pen, or the manual multidose injection pen RebiSlide. Rebif can also be administered with the autoinjector Rebiject II or by manual injection using ready-to-use pre-filled syringes. These injection devices are not available in all countries. In January 2012, the European commission approved the extension of the indication of Rebif in early multiple sclerosis. The extension of the indication of Rebif has not been submitted in the United States. Rebif should be used with caution in patients with a history of depression, liver disease and seizures. Most commonly reported side effects are flu-like symptoms, injection site disorders, elevation of liver enzymes and blood cell abnormalities. Patients, especially those with depression, seizure disorders, or liver problems, should discuss treatment with Rebif with their doctors.

About multiple sclerosis
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic, inflammatory condition of the central nervous system and is the most common, non-traumatic, disabling neurological disease in young adults. It is estimated that approximately two million patients have MS worldwide. While symptoms can vary, the most common symptoms of MS include blurred vision, numbness or tingling in the limbs and problems with strength and coordination. The relapsing forms of MS are the most common.

About S3 Group
S3 Group is a leading designer of Connected Health Solutions. Headquartered in Dublin Ireland S3 Group specializes in delivering solutions that impact healthcare outcomes. This is the third time S3 Group has been honored as a supplier to an MDEA award winner. For more information please go to:
http://www.s3group.com/connected-health

About Merck Serono
Merck Serono is the biopharmaceutical business of Merck. With headquarters in Darmstadt, Germany, Merck Serono offers leading brands in 150 countries to help patients with cancer, multiple sclerosis, infertility, endocrine and metabolic disorders as well as cardiovascular diseases. In the United States and Canada, EMD Serono operates as a separately incorporated subsidiary of Merck Serono. Merck Serono discovers, develops, manufactures and markets prescription medicines of both chemical and biological origin in specialist indications. We have an enduring commitment to deliver novel therapies in our core focus areas of neurology, oncology, immuno-oncology and immunology.

For more information, please visit http://www.merckserono.com.

All Merck Press Releases are distributed by e-mail at the same time they become available on the Merck Website. Please go to http://www.merckgroup.com/subscribe to register online, change your selection or discontinue this service.

Merck is a leading company for innovative and top-quality high-tech products in healthcare, life science and performance materials. The company has six businesses – Merck Serono, Consumer Health, Allergopharma, Biosimilars, Merck Millipore and Performance Materials – and generated sales of around € 11.3 billion in 2014. Around 39,000 Merck employees work in 66 countries to improve the quality of life for patients, to foster the success of customers and to help meet global challenges. Merck is the world’s oldest pharmaceutical and chemical company – since 1668, the company has stood for innovation, business success and responsible entrepreneurship. Holding an approximately 70% interest, the founding family remains the majority owner of the company to this day. Merck, Darmstadt, Germany, holds the global rights to the Merck name and brand. The only exceptions are Canada and the United States, where the company operates as EMD Serono, EMD Millipore and EMD Performance Materials.

* The exact correlation between MRI findings and the current or future clinical status of patients, including disability progression, is unknown.

 
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Posted by on June 22, 2015 in Industry

 

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Merck Serono Wins Two Red Dot Design Awards 2015 for High Quality Design of Fertility Pens

  • Out of nearly 5,000 entries, Merck Serono won acclaim in the 60th anniversary of the Red Dot Award: Product Design 2015
  • Award recognizes Merck Serono’s commitment to developing innovative drug delivery devices with high convenience and reliability

Darmstadt, Germany, June 10, 2015 – Merck Serono, the biopharmaceutical business of Merck, today announced that the product design of its fertility pens won over the 38-member jury of the Red Dot Award: Product Design 2015. The company was honored with a total of two awards for its Merck Serono Fertility Family of PensTM in this year’s competition. The pens are used in fertility treatment to inject hormones for follicle stimulation, helping women and couples realize their dream of having a baby.

Meeta Gulyani, Head of Global Strategy and Franchises, Merck Serono

Meeta Gulyani, Head of Global Strategy and Franchises, Merck Serono

“Winning two Red Dot Awards for our Family of Pens is a remarkable achievement for Merck Serono which acknowledges our dedication and attention to detail in designing these innovative drug delivery devices to meet the needs of patients”, said Meeta Gulyani, Head of Global Strategy and Franchises at Merck Serono. “Bringing to life our motto ´As One for Patients´, developing these products was a collaborative process involving, Merck Serono´s business as well as medical device experts and our manufacturing partner the company Haselmeier. Receiving the Red Dot Awards shows that, by working together closely, we succeeded in developing devices with a unique design and high user friendliness that inspire confidence and convey reliability.”

Merck Serono’s Family of Pens is the first pre-filled, ready-to-use set of injection devices for fertility treatment. It is based on healthcare professionals’ and patients’ feedback to provide a common injection platform for Merck Serono’s gonadotropins. One of these essential hormones to treat infertility is Merck Serono’s Gonal-f® (follitropin alfa), a recombinant human follicle-stimulating hormone (r-hFSH) which is prescribed to supplement or replace naturally occurring FSH in women undergoing assisted reproductive technology (ART). In 2011, Merck Serono launched Gonal-f as a pre-filled pen for self-administration which has since been introduced in 74 countries. Other models support the injection of Ovidrel®.

With their clear and functional product design language, the pens ranked first amongst tough competition for a Red Dot Award, which is celebrating its 60th anniversary. The Award committee received a total of 4,928 entries from 56 countries this year. Throughout the world and across different industries, Red Dot is seen as the award for high design quality. The Red Dot Awards will be presented at a gala event in Essen (Germany) on 29 June 2015. The winning products are then presented for four weeks in the special exhibition “Design on Stage” before being included in the museum’s permanent exhibition. With roughly 2,000 exhibits over 4,000 square meters, the Red Dot Design Museum presents the world’s largest exhibition of contemporary design.

About the Red Dot Award
In order to appraise the diversity in the field of design in a professional manner, the Red Dot Design Award breaks down into the three disciplines of Red Dot Award: Product Design, Red Dot Award: Communication Design and Red Dot Award: Design Concept.

The Red Dot Award was created by Design Zentrum Nordrhein Westfalen and with around 17,000 entries each year is one of the best-respected design competitions in the world. In 2015, it is celebrating its 60th anniversary: It was in 1955 that a jury convened for the first time to assess the best designs of the day. The sought-after award, the “Red Dot”, is the revered international seal of outstanding design quality.

Award-winning designers, manufacturers and agencies use the Red Dot winner label and receive numerous other winners’ privileges, such as the presentation of the award-winning product on Red Dot Online, in the Red Dot Design Yearbook, the Red Dot App and on Red Dot 21. Additionally, the winning products are communicated in the international PR activities of Red Dot and exhibited in the Red Dot Design Museum Essen for a whole year.

More information is available at http://www.red-dot.org/press.

Red Dot Design Awards2015

About Merck Serono
Merck Serono is the biopharmaceutical business of Merck. With headquarters in Darmstadt, Germany, Merck Serono offers leading brands in 150 countries to help patients with cancer, multiple sclerosis, infertility, endocrine and metabolic disorders as well as cardiovascular diseases. In the United States and Canada, EMD Serono operates as a separately incorporated subsidiary of Merck Serono.

Merck Serono discovers, develops, manufactures and markets prescription medicines of both chemical and biological origin in specialist indications. We have an enduring commitment to deliver novel therapies in our core focus areas of neurology, oncology, immuno-oncology and immunology. For more information, please visit http://www.merckserono.com.

All Merck Press Releases are distributed by e-mail at the same time they become available on the Merck Website. Please go to http://www.merckgroup.com/subscribe to register online, change your selection or discontinue this service. Merck is a leading company for innovative and top-quality high-tech products in healthcare, life science and performance materials. The company has six businesses – Merck Serono, Consumer Health, Allergopharma, Biosimilars, Merck Millipore and Performance Materials – and generated sales of around € 11.3 billion in 2014. Around 39,000 Merck employees work in 66 countries to improve the quality of life for patients, to foster the success of customers and to help meet global challenges. Merck is the world’s oldest pharmaceutical and chemical company – since 1668, the company has stood for innovation, business success and responsible entrepreneurship. Holding an approximately 70% interest, the founding family remains the majority owner of the company to this day. Merck, Darmstadt, Germany, holds the global rights to the Merck name and brand. The only exceptions are Canada and the United States, where the company operates as EMD Serono, EMD Millipore and EMD Performance Materials.

 
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Posted by on June 12, 2015 in Industry

 

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Ready to Set New Standards: Merck to Form the Global Fertility Alliance for Excellence in Assisted Reproductive Treatment together with Illumina and Genea

June 8, 2015: Merck Serono Fertility is on its way to strategically grow from a pure drug company to a holistic Fertility Provider, supporting the improvement of success in Assisted Reproductive Treatment (ART) by going beyond drugs. Following the announcement of a global collaboration agreement with Genea Biomedx a few days ago, the Fertility Technologies unit takes the next big leap forward: It initiated a consortium that aims to advance excellence in fertility technologies and processes within the ART laboratory – the Global Fertility Alliance.

Merck Serono partners with two other companies: Illumina, a leader in developing and commercializing systems for analysis of genetic variation and function, and Genea, a leading fertility clinic chain with broad experience in fertility treatment and development of innovative fertility technologies. The formation of the Global Fertility Alliance comes just in time for the annual congress of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology (ESHRE) in Lisbon, Portugal (June 14-17, 2015), where the alliance will be launched and introduced to the fertility community.

Meeta Gulyani, Head of Global Strategy and Franchises, Merck Serono

Meeta Gulyani, Head of Global Strategy and Franchises, Merck Serono

All partners of the alliance share a joint desire to help improve fertility outcomes by contributing to the standardization of technologies and protocols in the ART lab. Together they will address variation in practices and technologies that lead to inconsistent results and outcomes.

“We are the global leader in the field of fertility drugs and committed to supporting the success and improvement in ART by going beyond drugs with innovative technologies,” explained Meeta Gulyani, Head of Global Strategy and Franchises at Merck Serono. “By forging the Global Fertility Alliance with partners like Illumina and Genea, we aim to support the development of needed global standards in ART labs. This will ensure a consistently high level of performance between different centers and countries.”

Dorothea Wenzel, Head Global Business Franchise Fertility, Merck Serono

Dorothea Wenzel, Head Global Business Franchise Fertility, Merck Serono

Recognizing the importance of innovation in ART technologies Merck Serono together with Illumina and Genea aims to enhance progress in three ways: Firstly, the founding members aim to foster integration of multiple, leading fertility technologies. Secondly, building on this, the alliance will aim to collaborate with leading health care professionals and medical societies to develop global standards. And finally, as technologies in the fertility space are rapidly advancing, the alliance will also develop educational resources for health care professionals worldwide. In order to rapidly progress the initiative, the alliance will establish a board of representatives which will meet regularly. At the same time, the alliance’s founding partners are inviting new members, who demonstrate a consistent commitment to driving technology innovation and improving ART results, to join the alliance.

Dorothea Wenzel, Head Global Business Franchise Fertility, concludes: “Founding the Global Fertility Alliance is another important step for Merck Serono towards improving the consistency in ART labs worldwide. We really can make a difference here, together with our current and potential future partners. It is great to see how our Fertility Technologies group is moving forward, working to improve quality in the labs to help couples create families.”

 
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Posted by on June 11, 2015 in Industry

 

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Welcoming Collaboration, Driving Innovation – Merck at ASCO 2015 (May 29 – June 2, Chicago, USA)

At this year’s ASCO annual meeting, Merck for the first time, hosted a media briefing together with Pfizer, our partner in the field of immuno-oncology. This event took place May 31st. Visit http://www.merckgroup.com/en/media/topics/immuno_oncology.html to catch up with the latest information about our drug candidates avelumab, evofosfamide and disease areas we are targeting.

Belén Garijo, Member of Merck’s executive Board and CEO Healthcare

Belén Garijo, Member of Merck’s executive Board and CEO Healthcare

“We are eager to share the latest early data for avelumab at ASCO,” said Belén Garijo, Member of Merck’s executive Board and CEO Healthcare, “this is the first time we will be presenting data on avelumab as an alliance. And we are making good progress with our Evofosfamide drug candidate for the possible treatment of pancreatic cancer as well as soft tissue sarcoma.”

In today’s society, there is no disease area more researched, recognized, or funded than the field of oncology. Cancer is just a stone’s throw away from touching each and every one of us – either as a patient fighting the ugly six letter word, as caregivers or advocates fighting on behalf of the patient to get the care they need, or as health care professionals fighting for better treatments for their patients.

“At Merck we are taking this fight one step further – we’re fighting to help change the direction of cancer care as we know it with immuno-oncology. Immuno-oncology, the latest innovative approach to cancer treatment that uses your body’s own immune system to fight the cancer, is no longer an idea; it’s a reality. Through our iONC platform, we are building our pipeline, galvanizing our collaborators and working to develop true innovation to not only treat the symptoms of cancer, but to prolong life and ensure that each and every patient receives the right treatment at the right time. We’re dedicated to achieving our vision. Through this digital platform, we’re sharing our thoughts, ideas, and possibilities to help redefine what could be possible. We encourage you to join us to create collaborative innovation,” said Luciano Rossetti, Global Head of R&D, Merck Serono, the biopharmaceutical business of Merck.

am2015-banner-desktop

Immuno-oncology focuses on harnessing the body’s immune system to mount an immune response against cancer.

At Merck we are deeply committed to changing the cancer landscape. Our immuno-oncology (iONC) research and early development platform, integrating research, early development and biomarker strategies, focuses on discovering and developing potential new therapies that are intended to harness the immune system and activate or augment the body’s natural anti-tumor response.

Read more on iONC™ – Investigating Cancer Therapies Powered by the Immune System – Visit http://www.ionc.com/en/

IONC

 
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Posted by on June 1, 2015 in Industry

 

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Merck Serono as Pioneer in Assisted Reproductive Treatments Takes Leading Role in Fertility Technologies Signing a Global Collaboration Agreement with Genea Biomedx

  • Global collaboration to extend the portfolio of Merck Serono, a leading company in fertility treatment, in the growing market of fertility technologies to support standardization and improve fertility outcomes
  • Merck receives global marketing and commercialization rights for three key innovative technologies, as well as pipeline of future products
  • Investing into innovation beyond drugs is currently seen as a key lever for improving outcomes

Darmstadt, Germany, May 28, 2015 – Merck, a leading company for innovative and top-quality high-tech products in healthcare, life science and performance materials, today announced the global collaboration agreement with the fertility technologies expert Genea Biomedx, an Australian company, dedicated to advancing fertility science and helping couples create families. With this partnership, Merck Serono, the biopharmaceutical business of Merck, and global market leader in drugs for Assisted Reproductive Treatment (ART), receives global marketing and commercialization rights to Genea Biomedx’s product portfolio. This comprises the innovative Gavi, Geri and Gems product lines which are expected to receive CE mark in Europe shortly, as well as a joint development pipeline.

Merck Serono_BiomedexGavi will be the world’s first fully automated vitrification instrument, focusing on lab processes with the aim of reducing potential errors and increasing efficiency in cryopreservation of embryos and in the future for oocytes (eggs). Geri is a benchtop incubator fitted with a time-lapse camera to capture images of embryos as they develop and individually controlled incubation chambers per patient to minimize disruptive events to the early-stage embryo. Gems is the latest generation of Genea’s culture media allowing for high quality embryo cultivation.

The collaboration is part of the company’s strategy to provide the best fertility solutions to its customers to increase success rates. With the global rights to these three product lines and future developments, Merck Serono is expanding its market position, offering key potentially outcome improving technologies to support standardization, automation and objectivity. To further strengthen this position, Merck Serono will closely collaborate with Genea Biomedx to jointly develop other innovative technology products and services, and have formed a development hub to pave the way for further improvements for the patient.

Belén Garijo, Member of the Executive Board of Merck and CEO Merck Healthcare

Belén Garijo, Member of the Executive Board of Merck and CEO Healthcare

“As a pioneer in reproductive health, we are continuously seeking to extend our product portfolio to bring innovative science and services to the fertility community,” explained Belén Garijo, Member of the Executive Board of Merck and CEO Healthcare. “There is significant need for improved technologies in fertility treatment, since the majority of issues in ART are beyond drug therapy. The key priority of our Fertility Technologies unit at Merck Serono is to advance our fertility portfolio beyond drugs and to enable innovation in technologies and services. Entering a global partnership with Genea will allow Merck to introduce innovative technologies in the ART market, further aiming to improve outcomes throughout the in vitro fertilization process. Merck Serono is dedicated to help patients realize their dream of creating a family.”

“Advancing the science of fertility treatment to improve outcomes and success rates for patients worldwide is Genea’s mission and we are excited that our agreement with Merck helps us continue to bring that aim to fruition,” said Tomas Stojanov CEO of Genea. “The launch of the three products, Gems, Gavi and Geri, is just the beginning of a unique collaboration between our two companies which will deliver innovative, high-technology products and thinking to fertility clinics around the world.”

The collaboration showcases both companies’ commitment to improve fertility treatment. Both Merck Serono and Genea Biomedx have a strong heritage in fertility treatment and will build on this expertise to invent and develop innovative fertility technologies. The collaboration is effective from May 1, 2015. Financial details of the agreement are not being disclosed.

Genea Biomedx
Genea Biomedx creates and manufactures practical, accessible and precise fertility technologies that help standardise and automate fertility treatment. Its unique relationship with Genea Fertility means that Genea Biomedx is a manufacturer that truly understands the customers’ perspective. As a result Genea Biomedx has developed the world’s first automated vitrification instrument, and has other projects well advanced in the product pipeline.

Gavi, Geri and Gems

  • Gavi – will be the world’s first automated vitrification instrument; Vitrification is a process used in IVF to preserve human egg cells (oocytes) or embryos by cooling them to deep sub-zero degrees. Approaching the process in an innovative way, Gavi uses an automated, standardized protocol aiming to provide consistent results in blastocyst vitrification.
  • Geri – a benchtop incubator with individually controlled incubation chambers per patient to minimize disruptive events to the early-stage embryo. It also incorporates a time-lapse camera to capture images of embryos as they develop.
  • Gems – the latest generation of Genea’s culture media for embryo cultivation.

Merck Serono
Merck Serono is the biopharmaceutical business of Merck. With headquarters in Darmstadt, Germany, Merck Serono offers leading brands in 150 countries to help patients with cancer, multiple sclerosis, infertility, endocrine and metabolic disorders as well as cardiovascular diseases. In the United States and Canada, EMD Serono operates as a separately incorporated subsidiary of Merck Serono. Merck Serono discovers, develops, manufactures and markets prescription medicines of both chemical and biological origin in specialist indications. We have an enduring commitment to deliver novel therapies in our core focus areas of neurology, oncology, immuno-oncology and immunology.

For more information, please visit http://www.merckserono.com.

Merck is a leading company for innovative and top-quality high-tech products in healthcare, life science and performance materials. The company has six businesses – Merck Serono, Consumer Health, Allergopharma, Biosimilars, Merck Millipore and Performance Materials – and generated sales of around € 11.3 billion in 2014. Around 39,000 Merck employees work in 66 countries to improve the quality of life for patients, to foster the success of customers and to help meet global challenges. Merck is the world’s oldest pharmaceutical and chemical company – since 1668, the company has stood for innovation, business success and responsible entrepreneurship. Holding an approximately 70% interest, the founding family remains the majority owner of the company to this day. Merck, Darmstadt, Germany, holds the global rights to the Merck name and brand. The only exceptions are Canada and the United States, where the company operates as EMD Serono, EMD Millipore and EMD Performance Materials.

 
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Posted by on June 1, 2015 in Industry

 

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Merck Serono supports 7th International Thyroid Awareness Week to Unmask Hypothyroidism

  • Hypothyroidism is a disease affecting millions which often goes unrecognized
  • Symptoms of hypothyroidism often mistaken for other diseases

Darmstadt, Germany, May 26, 2015 – Merck Serono, the biopharmaceutical business of Merck, today announced the support of 7th International Thyroid Awareness Week (ITAW). This year´s campaign launched today for ITAW is aimed at alerting millions of people across the world that they could be unknowingly living with a debilitating and potentially fatal condition. The condition called hypothyroidism affects just under 4% of the general population, however the prevalence is estimated to be much higher. Hypothyroidism occurs due to an under-active thyroid gland, which fails to produce enough thyroid hormones (thyroxine and triiodothyronine).

International Thyroid Awareness Week

Low levels of these hormones can cause slowing of heart rate, feeling tired and physically cold, having trouble with constipation.1 Depression and weight gain are also very common symptoms.1 In addition, fertility can be adversely affected.3 An underactive thyroid gland, when left untreated, can in extreme cases eventually lead to coma and even death.1,4

The new campaign is supported by Merck Serono together with Thyroid Federation International (TFI), and will run during International Thyroid Awareness Week, which takes place from May 25 to 31, 2015. The campaign is entitled HYPOTHRYOIDISM – UNMASKING THE CAUSES AND SYMPTOMS.

Ashok Bhaseen, President of Thyroid Federation International, said: “Thyroid disease is very common with an estimated 300 million currently affected and 1.6 billion people at risk of thyroid conditions globally. It is estimated that over 50% of those affected could be unaware of it.”

He added: “The thyroid is a small organ, but it has a big impact. Hypothyroidism causes a great deal of suffering with many people just putting up with the symptoms. I personally welcome this awareness campaign to shine a light on hypothyroid disease and reduce the unnecessary suffering that too many are enduring every day.”

Part of the campaign will emphasize that recognizing hypothyroidism is difficult because the symptoms can be easily explained away or be masquerading as another disease.4

Thyroid disorders are ten times more common in women than in men5 and there are certain times in a woman’s life that make her more vulnerable to thyroid disorders,1 such as during pregnancy6,7 and menopause.8

The aim of this campaign is to raise awareness of hypothyroidism to encourage people to recognize the symptoms and seek medical help.

Meeta Gulyani, Head of Strategy and Global Franchises at Merck’s biopharmaceutical division Merck Serono said: “Merck Serono is delighted to be part of the International Thyroid Awareness Week which is now an established and highly regarded global awareness campaign endorsed by the American Thyroid Association (ATA), the European Thyroid Association (ETA), the Latin American Thyroid Society (LATS) and the Chinese Society of Endocrinology (CSE).”

“Our mission at Merck Serono is to transform lives through medical science and patients’ needs are central to all we do. We are proud to be raising awareness of hypothyroidism in this campaign with the aim of reducing suffering for many people,” she added.

The initiatives website has been updated with this year´s campaign and provides further information on thyroid diseases in general including hypothyroidism http://www.thyroidweek.com

References:
1. British Thyroid Foundation. Your Thyroid Gland. Available at: http://www.btf-thyroid.org/index.php/thyroid. Last accessed March 2015.
2. Aoki Y, et al. 2007. Serum TSH and total T4 in the United States population and their association with participant characteristics: National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES 1999-2002). Thyroid. 17(12):1211-23. doi: 10.1089/thy.2006.0235.
3. British Thyroid Foundation. Hypothyroidism. Available at: http://www.btf-thyroid.org/index.php/thyroid/quick-guide-index/hypothyroidism. Last Accessed March 2015
4. Garber JR, et al. 2012. Clinical Practice Guidelines for Hypothyroidism in Adults: Cosponsored by the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists and the American Thyroid Association. Available at: http://www.thyroid.org/thyroid-guidelines/hypothyroidism/. Last accessed March 2015.
5. British Thyroid Association. 2006. UK Guidelines for the Use of Thyroid Function Tests. Available at: http://www.british-thyroid-association.org/info-for-patients/Docs/TFT_guideline_final_version_July_2006.pdf. Last accessed March 2015.
6. National Women’s Health Resource Center. 2006. Thyroid Disorder and Women. Available at: http://www.healthywomen.org/sites/default/files/nwhrc_fastfacts_thyroiddisease.pdf. Last accessed March 2015.
7. The Endocrine Society. Management of Thyroid Dysfunction During Pregnancy and Postpartum: an Endocrine Society Clinical Practice Guideline. J Clin Endocrinol Metab, 97: 2543–2565, 2012.
8. American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists. 2013. Thyroid Hormone Missing from Menopause Discussion for Millions of Women. Available at: http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/thyroid-hormone-missing-from-menopause-discussion-for-millions-of-women-73403307.html. Last accessed March 2015.

About Thyroid Federation International (TFI)
Thyroid Federation International first convened in Toronto at the 11th International Thyroid Congress in September 1995. Diana Meltzer Abramsky, who in 1980 founded the Thyroid Foundation of Canada in Kingston, Ontario Canada, first advocated the vision of a world thyroid patient organization to deal with the problems of thyroid disease in a global perspective. Since then the Federation has grown to include thyroid organizations in many parts of the world, including Europe, North and South America, Australia and Japan. TFI is an independent, worldwide network of patient-support organizations. The Federation works together for the benefit of those affected by thyroid disorders by providing information and raising awareness, by encouraging and assisting the formation of patient-oriented groups, and by working closely with the medical professions. TFI has a Medical Advisory Board, which consists of some of the most eminent thyroid specialists in the world. For more information, please visit http://www.thyroid-fed.org/tfi-wp/

About Merck Serono
Merck Serono is the biopharmaceutical business of Merck. With headquarters in Darmstadt, Germany, Merck Serono offers leading brands in 150 countries to help patients with cancer, multiple sclerosis, infertility, endocrine and metabolic disorders as well as cardiovascular diseases. In the United States and Canada, EMD Serono operates as a separately incorporated subsidiary of Merck Serono.

Merck Serono discovers, develops, manufactures and markets prescription medicines of both chemical and biological origin in specialist indications. We have an enduring commitment to deliver novel therapies in our core focus areas of neurology, oncology, immuno-oncology and immunology.

For more information, please visit http://www.merckserono.com

 
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Posted by on May 26, 2015 in Industry

 

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