Perlmutter appointed president of Merck Research Laboratories

Merck announced the appointment on Thursday of Roger Perlmutter as executive vice president and president of Merck Research Laboratories, a position that will become effective on April 15.

Perlmutter will take over the position from Peter Kim, who served in the role since 2003 and plans to serve the company as an advisor until his retirement in August. During Kim's tenure, Merck gained approval of more than 20 new medicines and vaccines, including the first HIV integrase inhibitor, an oral vaccine to prevent rotavirus infection in infants and the first vaccine for the prevention of cervical cancer.

"I am deeply grateful to the incredibly talented and dedicated people of MRL who have worked with me over the past 12 years on our mission of delivering medicines and vaccines to improve human health around the world," Kim said. "I am very pleased with Roger's appointment and confident that he is the right person to lead MRL into the future, and am committed to ensuring a seamless leadership transition for this truly special organization and its great people."

Perlmutter worked at Merck as a senior vice president and as the executive vice president of worldwide basic research and preclinical development between February 1997 and January 2001. He was executive vice president and head of R&D at Amgen Inc. between January 2001 and February 2012.

"I am honored to have the opportunity to return to Merck and to lead MRL," Perlmutter said. "Throughout my career, as both a physician and a scientist, I have drawn inspiration from Merck's unwavering commitment to scientific excellence. Over time, this commitment has brought forth an unparalleled number of breakthrough medicines and vaccines that improve the lives of patients around the world."

Kenneth Frazier, the chairman and CEO of Merck, said that Perlmutter is a world-class physician-scientist who has a proven track record of leading major research organizations and delivering a diverse and broad medicine pipeline.

"With his deep knowledge of the ongoing changes in the industry's external environment and their implications for how we use R&D resources, Roger is ideally suited to lead Merck's global research and development," Frazier said. "I am confident that under Roger's leadership, Merck will continue to build upon our legacy of translating cutting edge science into medically important products that make a difference for patients."

Merck currently has 38 drug candidates in late-stage clinical development.