Roche and Merck Collaborate to Develop Diagnostic Tests for Merck’s Investigational Cancer Therapies

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Tuesday, June 7, 2011 7:30 am EDT

Dateline:

WHITEHOUSE STATION, N.J. & PLEASANTON, Calif.

Public Company Information:

NYSE:
MRK
"We are very pleased to showcase our leadership position in personalized healthcare by entering into this agreement with Merck. Roche hopes that, through our joint efforts, we will be able to provide companion diagnostic tests which lead to better solutions for patients worldwide."

WHITEHOUSE STATION, N.J. & PLEASANTON, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Merck (NYSE:MRK), known outside the United States and Canada as MSD, and Roche (SIX: RO, ROG; OTCQX: RHHBY) today announced that they have entered into a collaboration focused on the application and development of diagnostic assays for use with Merck's investigational cancer therapy portfolio. Financial details were not disclosed.

“We are very pleased to showcase our leadership position in personalized healthcare by entering into this agreement with Merck. Roche hopes that, through our joint efforts, we will be able to provide companion diagnostic tests which lead to better solutions for patients worldwide.” said Paul Brown, Head of Roche Molecular Diagnostics.

The collaboration will apply various technologies such as array and immunohistochemical (IHC/ISH) technologies. Roche Diagnostics will provide validated, standardized assays for use in clinical oncology programs being conducted by Merck. Merck will also expand its use of Roche’s investigational AmpliChip p53 assay in its clinical programs to stratify and identify patients suitable for inclusion in ongoing/planned trial(s). As previously announced, Roche and Merck have a collaboration in which Merck can access Roche’s developmental microarray-based AmpliChip p53 Test.

"Effective use of companion diagnostics is an important component of our oncology development strategy focused on targeted therapies," said Gary Gilliland, M.D., Ph.D., senior vice president and head of oncology research at Merck. "This collaboration provides Merck with access to diverse developmental and commercial diagnostic technologies that will facilitate the identification and monitoring of those patients most likely to respond to our investigational cancer therapies."

About Roche

Headquartered in Basel, Switzerland, Roche is a leader in research-focused healthcare with combined strengths in pharmaceuticals and diagnostics. Roche is the world’s largest biotech company with truly differentiated medicines in oncology, virology, inflammation, metabolism and CNS. Roche is also the world leader in in-vitro diagnostics, tissue-based cancer diagnostics and a pioneer in diabetes management. Roche’s personalized healthcare strategy aims at providing medicines and diagnostic tools that enable tangible improvements in the health, quality of life and survival of patients. In 2010, Roche had over 80’000 employees worldwide and invested over 9 billion Swiss francs in R&D. The Group posted sales of 47.5 billion Swiss francs. Genentech, United States, is a wholly owned member of the Roche Group. Roche has a majority stake in Chugai Pharmaceutical, Japan. For more information: www.roche.com.

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 www.merck.com.

Merck 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 health care 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 (www.sec.gov).

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