Merck gains exclusive rights for tetanus and diphtheria vaccine

An agreement has been announced between MassBiologics of the University of Massachusetts Medical School and Merck & Co., Inc., that provides the exclusive rights to market and distribute MBL's tetanus and diphtheria toxoids adsorbed vaccine in the United States, with the exception of Massachussetts, to Merck.

Merck plans to begin distributing the TD vaccine in June.

"Adult vaccination is an important element in Merck's commitment to help people be well, and we are delighted to partner with MBL to add tetanus-diphtheria vaccine to our broad U.S. portfolio of adult vaccines," Soren Bo Christiansen, M.D., senior vice president and general manager for Adolescent & Adult Vaccines at Merck Vaccines, said. "This agreement is another example of how Merck engages in partnerships that will enable us to bring the most robust portfolio of products to our customers."

The TD vaccine was licensed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 1970 and is indicated for active immunization for the prevention of tetanus and diphtheria. The TD vaccine is approved for use in people seven years of age and older.

Since the introduction of vaccines, cases of tetanus and diphtheria have been drastically reduce, though people can remain at risk for the diseases. The tetanus causing bacteria may exist in soil and can enter the body through any cut or wound, though it is not spread from person to person. 

Diphtheria is rare in the United States as a result of widespread use of vaccines, though the bacteria still remains a concern. Diphtheria is caused by bacteria that can be passed from an infected person through coughs or sneezes.