Merck Animal Health and Rapid Genomics Sign Exclusive Agreement on Vaccine Verification

Underscores Commitment to Innovation for Poultry Industry at 2019 International Production & Processing Expo (IPPE).

ATLANTA, GA, 12 February, 2019 – Merck Animal Health, a division of Merck & Co., Inc., Kenilworth, N.J., USA, announced a collaboration agreement with Rapid Genomics which grants the company exclusive rights to Rapid Genomics’ vaccination verification tool, Viral Flex-Seq®. This tool will be utilized in combination with Merck Animal Health’s Innovax® range of vaccines, including Innovax®-ND-IBD, a unique vaccine that provides long-term protection against three infectious poultry diseases, Newcastle Disease (ND), Infectious Bursal Disease (IBD) and Marek’s Disease (MD), in a single dose. The collaboration was announced at the 2019 International Production & Processing Expo (IPPE) being held in Atlanta, Georgia, from February 12-14, 2019.

“This partnership will bring together Merck Animal Health’s unique broad vaccine product line and Rapid Genomics’ innovative vaccination verification test, to optimize and enhance disease outbreak management in poultry for improved animal health and welfare,” said Taylor Barbosa, DVM, Ph.D., ACPV, Executive Director, Global Poultry Marketing, Merck Animal Health. “As the poultry industry grows, there is an increased need for improving disease control to optimize productivity and we are committed to growing with the industry to bring innovative solutions to our customers.”

Viral Flex-Seq® is a product that provides a highly-sensitive and accurate result to confirm the presence of the vaccine replication in the bird. Viral Flex-Seq® uses next-generation sequencing (NGS) technology, an advanced method of genomic analysis, to specifically detect replication of Innovax® vaccines and differentiate them from field viruses.

“We are proud and excited to partner with Merck Animal Health, an industry-leading poultry vaccine company,” said Richard Currie, BVM&S, Ph.D., CEO, Rapid Genomics. “This partnership supports our mission as innovators in the field of genomic testing to set the standard for HVT vector vaccine detection and associated infectious pathogen diagnosis.”

Animal Health’s Commitment to Innovation
Merck Animal Health will host several interactive customer forums at the IPPE, which are aimed at helping customers learn more about the latest innovation in poultry production across the world. Topics include next-generation sequencing as a diagnostic tool for the evaluation of vaccine takes with the Innovax® vaccine range; non-antibiotic based strategies to prevent and treat diseases in poultry; and integrated approaches to environment, nutrition and biosecurity to reduce disease in poultry.At the Merck Animal Health booth, customers will have the opportunity to learn about cutting-edge hatchery solutions from leading device companies, which can be used in complement with the Innovax® range of vaccines to optimize protection against common infectious poultry diseases:

  • in ovo vaccination technology that offers earlier immunity, uniform vaccine delivery and reduced stress on the birds, as well as lower labor costs
  • Constant pressure spray technology that optimizes accuracy and efficiency of vaccine delivery, eliminating delivery through syringes
  • Subcutaneous vaccination that provides a high standardization and accuracy for vaccine delivery 

Merck Animal Health is also committed to offering unique learning opportunities for customers and recently hosted a first-of-its-kind hands-on learning opportunity within the poultry industry for key customers from 22 countries and nearly 50 poultry professionals, at a hatchery in Hungary. The two-week training program featured a “Hatchery: A to Z” curriculum, providing participants with access to every part of the hatchery process, including learning opportunities that highlighted troubleshooting, disease and issue identification, preparation of equipment, evaluation of vaccine administration, egg breakouts and chick quality assessments.

Merck Animal Health is a leader in animal health vaccines, with a broad product line of poultry vaccines against most major pathogens and a focus on diseases affecting broilers, breeders and layers. With a robust R&D pipeline spanning key disease areas, the company aims to advance vaccine and pharmaceutical scientific innovations in veterinary medicine in poultry as well as in other species areas.

For more information on Merck Animal Health’s commitment to innovation, please visit For more information on Rapid Genomics and Viral Flex-Seq®, please visit

About Merck Animal Health
For more than a century, Merck, a leading global biopharmaceutical company, has been inventing for life, bringing forward medicines and vaccines for many of the world’s most challenging diseases. Merck Animal Health, a division of Merck & Co., Inc., Kenilworth, N.J., USA, known as MSD Animal Health outside the USA and Canada, is the global animal health business unit of Merck & Co., Inc. Through its commitment to the Science of Healthier Animals®, 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 or connect with us on LinkedInFacebook and Twitter at @MerckAH.

About Rapid Genomics
Rapid Genomics is an industry-leading provider of sequencing-based genotyping and molecular-based diagnostics solutions for animal and plant production industries, as well as the microbiology industry. Rapid Genomics offers genotyping, genomics and data analysis services utilizing next-generation sequencing and computational biology. Through solution-driven assay designs, high-throughput sample processing and customized bioinformatics, Rapid Genomics services commercial companies as they seek to optimize production efficiency and add value to customer product offerings.