Merck Animal Health Announces Research Partnership with Utrecht University to Discover Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus Vaccine

SUMMIT, NEW JERSEY, February 6, 2014 – Merck Animal Health (known as MSD Animal Health outside the USA and Canada) today announced it has entered into a research agreement with Utrecht University to test leads towards a vaccine for Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus. Research has already begun under the agreement, which will last 12 months.

“We are pleased to partner with Utrecht University on our search for a PEDV vaccine,” said Dr. KJ Varma, Senior Vice President, Research & Development, Merck Animal Health. “In addition to being one of the world’s most prestigious institutions, Utrecht University has decades of experience researching viruses of veterinary significance, and has several leads for the development of a PEDV vaccine.”

Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus causes severe diarrhea and vomiting, which can lead to mortality as high as 100 percent in young pigs and reduced growth in older pigs.1 The virus was first identified in Europe in 1971, became endemic in Asia in 1982, and spread to the United States in 2013.1,2

“Vaccine development on PEDV has been hampered by the difficulty of growing the virus in cell culture and, until very recently, by the lack of tools for its genetic manipulation,” said Peter Rottier, Ph.D., Professor in Virology, Utrecht University. “We share Merck Animal Health’s commitment to finding a vaccine and believe that this partnership will help us accelerate the discovery process.”

Until a vaccine is available, Dr. Rottier says that strict sanitation practices are the first and primary line of defense.

About Merck Animal Health
Today’s Merck is a global healthcare leader working to help the world be well. Merck Animal Health, known as MSD Animal Health in the United States and Canada, is the global animal health business unit of Merck. Merck Animal Health offers veterinarians, farmers, pet owners and governments one of the widest range of veterinary pharmaceuticals, vaccines and health management solutions and services. Merck Animal Health is dedicated to preserving and improving the health, well-being and performance of animals. It invests extensively in dynamic and comprehensive R&D resources and a modern, global supply chain. Merck Animal Health is present in more than 50 countries, while its products are available in some 150 markets. For more information, visit

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 2012 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 (


  1. American Association of Swine Veterinarians. AASV Quick Facts: Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea.–AASVQF052313.pdf. Accessed November 11.2013.
  2. Merck Veterinary Manual. Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea. Accessed November 11, 2013.