Today, as one of the world's leading pharmaceutical research companies, Merck continues to invest nearly $5 billion a year in R&D to identify innovative new therapies for major unmet medical needs, including cardiovascular disease. The Company has more than 1,200 scientists and employees dedicated to fighting heart disease and eight new drug candidates in cardiovascular research and development for diseases such as heart failure, hypertension, the metabolic syndrome and dyslipidemia. Besides the work occurring in its labs, Merck also is tapping the best science in the world as we pursue the next generation of innovations. "Collaborations with external partners, wherever in the world, are an integral and essential part of our long-term business and research strategy," said Dr. Pasternak. "Our record and commitment to scientific excellence in cardiovascular care has made Merck a preferred partner for years – a status we intend to retain." The Company is forming external collaborations and partnerships in the field. Merck has collaborations with Actelion Pharmaceuticals to evaluate drugs for hypertension; Advinus Therapeutics to discover and develop drugs for metabolic syndrome; Arena Pharmaceuticals to develop novel agents for lipid management; NicOx to develop antihypertensive drugs; and the High Risk Plaque Initiative to advance the understanding and management of high-risk atherosclerotic plaque. Merck also has research partnerships with numerous academic institutions including Oxford University (UK); Duke Clinical Research Institute; TIMI, Brigham and Women's Hospital; Columbia University, Atherosclerosis Research Center; University of Pennsylvania; Baylor School of Medicine, University of Washington, and Montreal Heart Institute. Cardiovascular education
Merck also supports cardiovascular education and independent research programs. For example, on a national level, Merck supports several American Heart Association (AHA) initiatives such as the Pharmaceutical Roundtable, Get With The Guidelines: Coronary Artery Disease and Stroke, "Go Red For Women", and the AHA Annual Scientific Sessions and Exhibits. At the local level, Merck helps the AHA raise funds for cardiovascular research through Heart Walks and fundraising events. Merck also sponsors The Giant Heart at the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia. The Giant Heart is an interactive exhibit that highlights human anatomy, physiology, health and wellness. Finally, 2009 will be the 29th consecutive year Merck has supported the American College of Cardiology's Fellowship program. Merck also provides financial grants and product donations to support independent research programs. For example, Merck has donated supplies of antihypertensive medicines to the National Marfan Foundation (NMF), which is seeking new treatments for Marfan Syndrome, a devastating illness that attacks connective tissues in the body. In April 2008, Merck's efforts earned it the NMF's Hero with a Heart Award for its commitment to innovation and patient care. About Merck
Merck & Co., Inc. is a global research-driven pharmaceutical company dedicated to putting patients first. Established in 1891, Merck currently discovers, develops, manufactures and markets vaccines and medicines to address unmet medical needs. The Company devotes extensive efforts to increase access to medicines through far-reaching programs that not only donate Merck medicines but help deliver them to the people who need them. Merck also publishes unbiased health information as a not-for-profit service. For more information, visit www.merck.com.