THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 29, 2016

Merck, NewLink Genetics team up to work on experimental Ebola vaccine

Merck and NewLink Genetics Corp. said they have entered into an exclusive worldwide license agreement to perform research and develop NewLink’s investigational Ebola vaccine rVSV-EBOV.

The terms of the agreement said Merck will be granted exclusive rights to the rVSV-EBOV vaccine, as well as any follow-up products.

“Effective Ebola vaccines will be a critical component of comprehensive prevention and control measures for people at risk of Ebola virus infection and to stem future outbreaks globally,” Dr. Julie Gerberding, president of Merck Vaccines, said. “Merck is committed to applying our vaccine expertise to address important global health needs and, through our collaboration with NewLink, we hope to advance the public health response to this urgent international health priority.”

The vaccine, originally developed by the Public Health Agency of Canada, is currently being evaluated in Phase I clinical trials, and the U.S. National Institutes of Health recently announced plans to start a randomized, controlled Phase III study to evaluate the safety and efficacy of the rVSV-EBOV vaccine in early 2015. The NIH will also initiate a similar study for another investigational Ebola vaccine co-developed by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and drug company GlaxoSmithKline.

“Merck's vaccine-development expertise, commercial leadership and history of successful strategic alliances make it an ideal partner to expedite the development of rVSV-EBOV and, if demonstrated to be efficacious and well-tolerated, to make it available to individuals and communities at risk of Ebola virus infection around the world,” Dr. Charles Link, chairman and chief executive officer of NewLink Genetics, said.

Phase I clinical trials of the rVSV-EBOV vaccine have started at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research and the NIAID at the NIH. Others are underway or planned in Switzerland, Germany, Kenya, Gabon and Canada.

Organizations in this story

Merck 2000 Galloping Hill Rd Kenilworth, NJ 07033

National Institutes of Health 9000 Rockville Pike Bethesda, MD 20892

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