Merck and BGI Establish Strategic Collaboration focused on Biomarkers and Genomic Technologies

WHITEHOUSE STATION, N.J. and SHENZHEN, China – Merck (NYSE:MRK), known as MSD outside the United States and Canada, and BGI, the world’s largest genomics center, announced today that they have established a collaboration to focus on the discovery and development of biomarkers and genomic technologies. Under the agreement scientists from Merck and BGI will work closely together to identify and characterize biomarkers with an emphasis on drug discovery, drug development and diagnostics applications across a wide range of therapeutic areas.

“This strategic collaboration combines BGI’s genomic sequencing and analytic capabilities with Merck’s expertise and experience in drug development,” said Dr. Jeffrey Chodakewitz, vice president, Late Stage Development, Merck Research Laboratories.  “By working together we hope to apply BGI’s comprehensive next-gen sequencing solutions to develop important new tools to aid drug development and enable effective tailoring of medicines to those patients most likely to respond.”

Under the terms of the agreement Merck and BGI will each be permitted to propose projects to be undertaken under the collaboration.  Both Merck and BGI will provide resources, expertise, samples and other research material as needed for the collaboration.

“We welcome this opportunity to bring extensive genomics experience to our collaboration with Merck, as well as our expertise in transcriptomics, proteomics and bioinformatics. Through this close collaboration with Merck, we are confident that we will achieve more important breakthroughs to accelerate disease genomics research and drug R&D to facilitate improved health care,” said Ye Yin, President of Research and Cooperation Division at BGI. “This collaboration will bring mutual benefits to BGI and Merck in the next few years, but also support the development of new techniques that will benefit the medical and pharmaceutical industries as a whole.”

This agreement follows the signing, in September 2010, of a statement of intent to initiate and develop a working relationship to explore areas of mutual interest in healthcare research and discovery with the common goal of creating value from the massive output of genomic information enabled by next-generation, high-throughput DNA sequencing and analysis technologies.

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 that donate and deliver our products to the people who need them.  For more information, visit

About BGI

BGI was founded in 1999 with the mission of being a premier scientific partner to the global research community.  The company’s goal is to make leading-edge genomic science highly accessible through its investment in infrastructure that leverages the best available technology, economies of scale, and expert bioinformatics resources. BGI, and its affiliates, BGI Americas and BGI Europe, have established partnerships and collaborations with leading academic and government research institutions as well as global biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies, supporting a variety of disease, agricultural, environmental, and related applications.

BGI has established a proven track record of excellence, delivering results with high efficiency and accuracy for innovative, high-profile research which has generated over 170 publications in top-tier journals such as Nature and Science.  These accomplishments include sequencing one percent of the human genome for the International Human Genome Project, contributing 10 percent to the International Human HapMap Project, carrying out research to combat SARS and German deadly E. coli, playing a key role in the Sino-British Chicken Genome Project, and completing the sequence of the rice genome, the silkworm genome, the first Asian diploid genome, the potato genome, and, most recently, 1000 genomes and human Gut metagenome.

For more information about BGI please visit or

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 (

Contact Information

Ian McConnell
(908) 423-3046

BGI Americas
Joyce Peng, Ph.D.
(626) 222-5584
[email protected]