Belen Garijo, CEO and president of Merck serono and Prof. Solomon Mpoke, Director and CEO of KEMRI

Merck, a leading company for innovative and top-quality high-tech products in the pharmaceutical, chemical and life-science sectors, has announced the signing of a memorandum of understanding with Kenya Medical Research Institution (KEMRI) for a scientific partnership aimed at contributing to the country’s social and economic development. The partnership will cover research and development projects, programs and activities focused on malaria and schistosomiasis, as well as related co-infections.

“Merck is pleased to engage with KEMRI on a scientific collaboration as part of our commitment to advancing healthcare capacity and providing sustainable access for patients to high-quality health solutions and safe medicines in Africa,” said Belén Garijo, President and Chief Executive Officer of Merck Serono, the biopharmaceutical division of Merck. “We are fully committed to partner with KEMRI, Kenya Ministry of Health, Kenyan patient associations and other stakeholders to develop and deliver solutions to expand healthcare capacities and improve access to health in the country.”

“KEMRI is especially delighted to partner with a company that is committed to building healthcare capacities and providing sustainable access to high-quality, safe medication and health solutions in developing countries,” said Solomon Mpoke, KEMRI Director and Chief Executive Officer. “We are looking forward to establish a scientific collaboration with Merck focused on malaria and schistosomiasis, as well as related co-infections, for the purpose of advancing science and most importantly for benefitting patients.”

“Merck’s partnership with local research institutions will advance their research capacity and boost their rigorous efforts to improve healthcare in the country,” added Solomon Mpoke.

Merck is planning to partner with other research institutes in Africa in order to deliver innovative products quickly and cost-effectively. The company aims to further develop research and development activities through its newly launched Translational Innovation Platform unit dedicated to deliver unique, integrated and affordable solutions to tackle unmet medical needs of major tropical diseases such as schistosomiasis and malaria affecting children in endemic countries.

“Merck is greatly honored to collaborate on this project with a leading African research institute such as KEMRI,” added Belén Garijo. “We hope to maintain a long-standing relationship in this venture to improve the standard of healthcare and research capacity in order to tackle some tropical diseases in Kenya and the rest of African communities as a part of Merck Capacity Advancement Program.”

The Merck Capacity Advancement Program (CAP) is a 5-year program aimed at expanding the professional capacity in Africa in the areas of research and development, clinical research, supply chain integrity and efficiency, pharmacovigilance, community awareness and education for medical students at African Universities.

Another core element of Merck’s commitment to provide access to healthcare in Africa is the Merck Praziquantel Donation Program to fight the worm disease schistosomiasis together with the World Health Organization (WHO). Since the start of the program in 2007, Merck has donated over 160 million tablets of praziquantel. To date, more than 38 million patients in total have been treated, consisting primarily of school children. Merck is committed to continue its efforts to fight schistosomiasis until the disease has been eliminated in Africa. Merck’s efforts to fight schistosomiasis are in line with the United Nations Millennium Development Goals, and are also part of the initiative to fight neglected tropical diseases that was launched by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in early 2012.

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