Merck restructures R&D, licensing ops in merger revamp

Merck has unveiled its new corporate structure and the top execs who will rule the pharma giant once the Schering-Plough merger is complete. It's pressing its biologics business into a division--dubbed Global Human Health-which will also include vaccines and prescription drugs. And Merck is touting a newly structured research operation that will be in charge of the global hunt for new licensing pacts.

Current Global Human Health chief Kenneth Frazier will head up the combined company's biggest division, with Peter Kim holding on to the top job at Merck Research Laboratories (MRL). Animal Health and Consumer Health Care will operate as separate business units.

"The new structure for MRL is designed to foster innovation while instilling greater accountability at all stages of the R&D process through two core functions:  1) discovery and pre-clinical development, and, 2) clinical development and regulatory affairs," said the company in a statement. "In addition, a new central franchise structure focused on portfolio management will be aligned with the company's Global Human Health division.  The new MRL will continue its focus on pursuing the best science around the globe through a Worldwide Licensing group."

- check out the Merck release
- read the story from the Wall Street Journal