WHITEHOUSE STATION, N.J.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Merck (NYSE:MRK), known as MSD outside the United States and Canada, and Ferring Pharmaceuticals today announced their collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO) to advance a new, proprietary formulation of carbetocin, used to prevent excessive bleeding (post-partum hemorrhage) in women after childbirth, that is designed to be stable at room temperature, even in hot and tropical climates (ICH climatic zone IV). Currently, oxytocin, the standard medicine administered for the prevention of excessive bleeding, is temperature-sensitive and requires sustained cold distribution and storage in hot climates. The WHO will conduct a multi-country clinical study to evaluate the effectiveness of room-temperature-stable carbetocin, as compared to oxytocin. The development of a medicine that can be stored at room temperature has the potential to significantly improve management of bleeding following childbirth in the many areas of the world where cold storage is difficult to achieve and maintain, and thereby help reduce maternal deaths in those areas.
Starting this year, the study will take place in 12 countries around the world and enroll approximately 29,000 women. If the results of the study are positive, the organizations will work together with the aim of making the medicine available in developing countries that have a high burden of maternal mortality at an affordable and sustainable public-sector price.
"Mothers hold the future in their hands. That's why Merck has taken on our 10-year, $500 million fight against maternal mortality," said Kenneth C. Frazier, chairman and chief executive officer, Merck. "Working with our partners, we can help make a better solution a reality. It would be a real breakthrough to help prevent the number-one cause of women dying in childbirth in the most vulnerable parts of the globe." Through its Merck for Mothers initiative, Merck is applying its scientific and business expertise – as well as its financial resources – to reduce maternal mortality around the world.
"Few tragedies compare to the death of a mother during childbirth. Obstetric treatments that benefit mother and baby are a key focus of our efforts at Ferring. Ferring originally developed carbetocin and received the indication for the prevention of post-partum hemorrhage more than a decade ago. Ferring is delighted to join with the WHO and Merck in this project that aims to make the benefits of carbetocin available in areas of the world where cold storage is not readily available," said Michel L. Pettigrew, President of the Executive Board and COO, Ferring Group.
Carbetocin is not available in the United States. The WHO study of room-temperature-stable carbetocin will take place in Argentina, Brazil, Egypt, India, Kenya, Nigeria, Pakistan, Singapore, South Africa, Thailand, Uganda and the United Kingdom.
About Ferring Pharmaceuticals
Ferring Pharmaceuticals is a research-driven, specialty biopharmaceutical group, headquartered in Switzerland, and active in global markets. The company identifies, develops and markets innovative products in the areas of reproductive health, urology, gastroenterology and endocrinology. Ferring's obstetric portfolio (available in various countries outside the USA) includes carbetocin, a medicine which prevents post-partum hemorrhage, atosiban, a medicine which delays imminent preterm birth and dinoprostone and misoprostol to be used in connection with labour induction. Ferring has its own operating subsidiaries in 55 countries and markets its products in more than 100 countries. To learn more about Ferring or its products please visit www.ferring.com.
About Merck for Mothers
Every two minutes, a woman dies from complications related to pregnancy and childbirth. If nothing is done an estimated three million women may die from complications of pregnancy and childbirth in the next decade. Most of these deaths are preventable. While the burden falls most heavily on the developing world, certain communities in the United States and other developed nations are suffering significant and worsening rates of maternal death.
Merck for Mothers is a 10-year, $500 million initiative focused on creating a world where no woman has to die from complications of pregnancy and childbirth. Drawing on the company's history of discovering innovative, life-saving medicines and vaccines, Merck for Mothers is applying Merck's scientific and business expertise – as well as its financial resources and experience in taking on tough global healthcare challenges – to reduce maternal mortality around the world. For more information, visit www.merckformothers.com and connect with us on Facebook.
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. For more information, visit www.merck.com and connect with us on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.
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. These statements are based upon the current beliefs and expectations of Merck's management and are subject to significant risks and uncertainties. If underlying assumptions prove inaccurate or risks or uncertainties materialize, actual results may differ materially from those set forth in the forward-looking statements.
Risks and uncertainties include but are not limited to, general industry conditions and competition; general economic factors, including interest rate and currency exchange rate fluctuations; the impact of pharmaceutical industry regulation and health care legislation in the United States and internationally; global trends toward health care cost containment; technological advances, new products and patents attained by competitors; challenges inherent in new product development, including obtaining regulatory approval; Merck's ability to accurately predict future market conditions; manufacturing difficulties or delays; financial instability of international economies and sovereign risk; dependence on the effectiveness of Merck's patents and other protections for innovative products; and the exposure to litigation, including patent 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 2013 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 (www.sec.gov).