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The Global Health Institute engages with the Global Health Community. Closing 2017, members from the Global Health Institute of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, have continued to play an important role at International Conferences on Infectious Diseases and Global Health, fostering awareness on the Institute’s efforts in the fight against schistosomiasis and malaria, and engaging in scientific dialogues with the Global Health Community also on bacterial infections and anti-microbial resistance. The year 2017 closed with presentations at events in Europe and in the US. The lead of the Pediatric Praziquantel (PZQ) Formulation program was invited to present about its progress at the Swiss TPH Winter Symposium in December. The Basel Symposium, organized by the Pediatric PZQ Consortium partner Swiss TPH, welcomed over 160 international experts and scientists who critically reviewed innovations in diagnostics and drugs, and discussed control strategies to potentially stop transmission of parasitic worm infections. As in previous years, the 66th ASTMH Annual Meeting held in Baltimore in November represented a great opportunity to meet with tropical medicine and global health professionals from different sectors. Members from the Global Health Institute also played a role at the closed COR-NTD Annual Meeting. Coordinated by the Neglected Tropical Diseases Support Center, which is funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF), the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the UK Department for International Development, COR-NTD meets formally each year with participation from NTD experts, including researchers, implementers, donors and the World Health Organization, to review the synergies and provide guidance within the operational research arena for NTDs. Baltimore was also the location for a Global Schistosomiasis Alliance meeting where scientific experts continued their exchange in the context of the schistosomiasis elimination agenda. Through presentation, the Institute contributed to the discussion around schistosomiasis morbidity and one of the consequences was presented in more detail which is Female Genital Schistosomiasis. In October, the Institute was represented through presentation and poster at the 10th ECTMIH held in Antwerp (Belgium): Data from the ‘Evaluation of the pharmacokinetic-pharmacodynamic relationship of praziquantel in the Schistosoma mansoni mouse model’ were presented; for more information, please consult the recent publication in PLOS NTDs. Still in October, leaders of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany shared their expertise to address the most pressing issues on world health at the 9th World Health Summit in Berlin. Being an annual meeting with participation of researchers, physicians, government officials, industry representatives, NGOs and healthcare systems, the WHS represented a great opportunity for contributing to the discussion by presenting innovative ways and operating models to fight NTDs as well as case studies promoting R&D and manufacturing capacities in developing countries. To sum up, in 2017, the Merck Global Health Institute has caught the attention of the global health community at various occasions. By addressing unmet medical needs of vulnerable populations, the Institute plays an important role within the control and elimination agenda for infectious diseases. To sum up, in 2017, the Global Health Institute has caught the attention of the global health community at various occasions. By addressing unmet medical needs of vulnerable populations, the Institute plays an important role within the control and elimination agenda for infectious diseases.

EDCTP and GHIT Fund co-fund the development of the pediatric Praziquantel formulation for schistosomiasis. Two important donors working together for the first time. On December 8th, the European & Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership (EDCTP) and The Global Health Innovative Technology (GHIT) Fund announced that they will be co-funding the phase III clinical study conducted by the Pediatric Praziquantel Consortium, led by the Global Health Institute of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany. This study aims to provide clinical data and support for registration of a new praziquantel (PZQ) tablet formulation to treat schistosomiasis in preschool-aged children. The joint investment is the first action of a new partnership between EDCTP and GHIT, initiated to support product development research. It certainly represents a great achievement for the Consortium and for the Institute, and a significant step forward in contribution to the elimination agenda for schistosomiasis. Click here for the Press Release by EDCTP. Click here for the Press Release by GHIT. Click here for more information on the Consortium.

Joining forces to advocate about Female Genital Schistosomiasis and its impact on HIV. Female Genital Schistosomiasis: treating schistosomiasis to reduce HIV transmission. The Global Health Institute of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, continues to foster awareness within the scientific community about Female Genital Schistosomiasis, and the link between this genital form of schistosomiasis with a potential increased risk of contracting HIV. In particular, through a recent interview by the International Society of Neglected Tropical Diseases (ISTND), Jutta Reinhard-Rupp (Head of the Global Health Institute) has continued sharing key messages on this topic, underlining the importance of treating schistosomiasis early on in patients’ life to potentially contribute to the strategy for reducing HIV transmission. On the occasion of the World AIDS Day 2017 on December 1st, ISNTD (one of Global Health Institute’s partners) launched the Disease Brief called: “Female Genital Schistosomiasis: the Most Neglected Gynaecological Disease”. Beyond highlighting the strong linkage between FGS and HIV infection, this report aims at triggering acceleration for advocacy, policy and intervention collaboration between the HIV and NTDs communities.

The Merck Global Health team at the September R&D Day. Under the theme ‘The Art of Collaboration’, Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany held the biopharma R&D Day on September 21st in Darmstadt. The Global Health team joined the event to present the ‘Integrated Malaria Program’ and its recent achievements. The success of the malaria presentation by Beatrice Greco, Head of R&D and Access (Global Health Institute) was showcased by a growing interest and exchange with colleagues as well as with an increased engagement towards the malaria program. As well, the exhibition booth promoted the overall initiatives and programs of the Global Health Institute. In addition, under the main theme of 'Transmission Controls for Infectious Diseases', the booth fostered our ongoing collaborations with colleagues from Performance Materials (picture with B. Greco and J. Reinhard-Rupp from the Global Health Institute on the sides, B. Magsaam from Performance Materials in the middle) and external academic expert who joined forces with the Global Health team at the event. The many R&D colleagues visiting the booth learned more about IR3535®, the insect repellent of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, as well as about the research program (winner of the Company’s 2016 Innovation Cup) on a novel gene editing approach to control schistosomiasis transmission.

One significant step forward in the fight against Malaria. First Subject Dosed in M5717 Phase I Trial. The M5717 PeEF2 inhibitor team has achieved a major milestone! The first subject in the Phase I trial was dosed on September 14, 2017. M5717 has the potential to become the first single-dose treatment for cure and prophylaxis of malaria. Performed in Australia with healthy volunteers, the Phase I trial aims to assess the safety and obtain an early read-out of the antimalarial activity of M5717 in human to confirm the potential for single dose cure.

The integrated approach to fight schistosomiasis. Ongoing project, winner of the Innovation Cup 2016 and sponsored by the Global Health Institute!A novel gene editing approach is the focus of a collaborative project that aims to control schistosomiasis transmission by targeting the parasite's snail vector and possibly providing potential tool to help decreasing the rate of infection. News on the ongoing project, winner of the Merck Innovation Cup 2016 and sponsored by the Merck Global Health Institute, is available. Please also click on a recent article and video to know more about schistosomiasis.

The Global Health Institute announced at the Bioethics Advisory Panel of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany. 7th Bioethics Advisory Panel convened in Geisenheim, Germany - Patient centric guidance for the company. Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germans is faced with complex bioethical issues. As a global science and technology company, it is critical to identify and address international developments on bioethical issues and therefore the Bioethical Advisory Panel (MBAP) provides clear guidance on bioethics. The MBAP evolved significantly in 2017, for the first time covering all regions with eight expert members led by the Chief Medical Officer and the Head of the Global Health Institute (chair and co-chair) of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany. This annual meeting was the opportunity to announce Global Health Institute as the organization working on integrated health solutions for developing countries.

Pediatric Praziquantel program awarded additional grant from the Global Health Innovative Technology (GHIT) Fund. The GHIT Fund recently announced that it will continue to support the Pediatric Praziquantel program, currently in Phase II. After being awarded grants in 2014 and 2015 for the phase I and II of the program, the latest grant of US$4.7m will allow the Pediatric PZQ Consortium to perform Phase III and prepare for registration. Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany and the Consortium is excited to continue its partnership with the GHIT Fund, which has been an important contributor in moving ahead the program. Further details are highlighted in the GHIT Fund press release.

World Malaria Day helping to support Vulnerable Populations in Africa. Over 30 different countries worldwide participated at the Malaria Day 2017!Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany marked World and Company’s Malaria Day on April 25th with an employee engagement campaign. This annual event organized by the Global Health Institute in collaboration with Performance Materials fostered awareness on our collective efforts to develop and provide integrated antimalarial health solutions through the Integrated Malaria Program. This year, the 'Raise your hand' campaign focused on IR3535® which, produced and distributed by Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, is used in insect repellents for complementary prevention from vector borne diseases, as malaria, dengue fever, ZIKA, Chikungunya and Lyme disease. All Company’s employees around the globe had the opportunity to learn about IR3535® and demonstrate their own support by taking a picture of their hands with a message engaging against malaria. Over 40 sites in more than 30 different countries participated at the Malaria Day 2017 highlighting an increased engagement towards global health topics in which the Company is committed. Amongst all participants, one colleague has won a trip to Ivory Coast to represent the Company during the distribution of repellents with IR3535® in a rural clinic.

Announcing the newly formed Global Health Institute at Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany. Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, furthers Commitment Towards Elimination of Schistosomiasis Through the Global Health Institute and a new Public-Private Partnership. In the context of its activities to deliver integrated health solutions for vulnerable populations suffering from infectious diseases, Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, has formed a new public-private partnership for the next three years with the Australian Institute of Tropical Health and Medicine (James Cook University, Queensland) and Baylor College of Medicine (Texas, USA). This partnership, awarded grant from Austrade (Australian government's agency), aims to develop new diagnostics essential to determine all schistosomiasis patients in need of treatment. The project is part of the portfolio of the newly announced Global Health Institute.

The New Gynecological Ward inaugurated in Cameroon. A donation by Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany to CIRES for a new infrastructure in Cameroon for clinical research in infectious diseases and gynecological care to patients in need. In 2016, in the context of capacity enhancement activities in African countries for clinical research in infectious diseases, the Global Health organization of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, made a donation to CIRES (Centre International de Recherches, d'Enseignements et de Soins), an institution recently created by Médecins sans Frontières, for setting up a gynecological room and supporting the 1st year-salaries in the district hospital of Akonolinga in the Region Centre in Cameroon. Contribution by the Chemical & Pharmaceutical Development organization (in the Biopharma R&D sector of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany) also allowed to buy the gynecological chair for the hospital. The addition of the gynecological service to the district hospital both reinforces the local capacity to provide gynecological care to patients in need and is the basis for potential future clinical research on 'female genital schistosomiasis' and related gynecological diseases. The inauguration of the gynecological room, co-organized by CIRES and the Global Health organization in collaboration with the Africa North West management of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, was celebrated on March 27, 2017 at the hospital in Akonolinga; representative from the Cameroonian Ministry of Health as well as local governmental officials attended the event. This meeting represented an important opportunity for the Company to meet and foster dialogues with key local stakeholders; all businesses of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, were represented.

Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany as winner of the ISNTD (The International Society for Neglected Tropical Diseases) Festival 2017 Award for Scientific Engagement. Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany received the ISNTD Festival 2017 Award for Scientific Engagement during the Festival held on February 23rd in London (UK). In recognition for the outstanding innovation and engagement across all communication channels for diseases and conditions of poverty, Claudia Cecalupo, on behalf of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, received the ISNTD Festival 2017 Award for Scientific Engagement during the Festival held on February 23rd in London (UK). This Award recognizes the rigorous scientific, public and patient engagement, the sustained advocacy for Neglected Tropical Diseases throughout a variety of communication formats and platforms as well as for the establishment of a dynamic and collaborative international research and civic community. At the ISNTD Festival, Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany joined forces with the Global Schistosomiasis Alliance to showcase the current efforts in the fight against schistosomiasis through videos, presentations and educational initiatives. The Global Health approach and programs for health solutions on infectious diseases were also presented at the event.

Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany called to represent Private Sector at the 2017 Peace & Health Forum. Basel Peace Forum. Over hundreds of leaders and decision makers from diplomacy, private sector, academia, civil society and media conveyed to the first Basel Peace Forum (January 2017) to exchange reflections and to inspire new and unconventional ideas for international peacebuilding. The forum focused the discussions on three areas: artificial intelligence, health and risk analysis. Jutta Reinhard-Rupp, Head of Global Health, was called to represent the private sector and was an invited speaker at the event to talk about 'Health & Peace'.

“The Integrated Malaria Program”: Engagement Campaign. The Malaria Day donation supporting healthcare centers in Tanzania and leading to key exchanges with local governmental officials. "One Merck for Malaria": Engagement Campaign. Closing the year 2016, Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, was acknowledged by the community to be a key global health partner for developing countries through its 4th place on the ATM index amongst the top 20 pharma companies worldwide and more specifically recognized for its R&D efforts, ranked 2nd. Indeed the Company’s current engagement and efforts in the area of infectious diseases is increasingly being showcased through global health-related initiatives, programs and activities, including the ‘Integrated Malaria Program’. Under the leadership of Beatrice Greco (Director of Malaria & Diagnostics Innovation Cluster, Global Health at Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany), the program synergies and leverages internal Company’s competencies from different business sectors in order to impact children and pregnant women suffering from malaria. It aims at delivering integrated health solutions including medicines and devices, diagnostics, personal protections as well as strengthening local healthcare systems. "In developing countries, tackling malaria, as many other diseases, requires to integrate pharma and life technology approaches. We need not only to develop new drugs to combat increasing drug resistance, and technologies to identify the patients carrying the various types of parasites but also to consider the environment in which they are evolving and address those challenges too" said Beatrice Greco, also initiator and leader of the Integrated Malaria Program. "In our Company, we have the unique opportunity to develop a holistic approach to malaria by merging our competencies and expertise. That's what the Integrated Malaria Program is about and we have today a great cross-business team focusing on various aspects of the program" she added. As part of this program, the "Malaria Day", held on the Worldwide Malaria day (April 25th), has become an annual event for the company. In 2016, the Malaria Day focused on "engaging employees against Malaria": by supporting the event, employees raised sufficient funds to buy over 40 beds and bulks of mosquito nets to be delivered in African health centers where vulnerable mothers and children suffering from malaria seek healthcare. The 'Bishop Edward Michaud Memorial' mission in Dar es Salaam (Tanzania) was selected by our local and regional managers, Godfrey Matata and Stefan Maron, after visiting the center and realizing the sore need for additional bed capacity within the wards. At the mission, on November 14th, 2016, the donation event was held, in presence of representatives from the Global Health team and the South East Africa management of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany. Our colleague, Anna Carolina Melo (Import/Export Analyst, Supply Network Operations - Brazil) who was randomly selected amongst the over 2000 participants at the Malaria Day 2016, officially donated the beds and bed nets, on behalf of all Company’s employees. "The possibility of participating in the Integrated Malaria Program in Tanzania was an indescribable experience!" said Anna Carolina. "To witness the reality of families in Tanzania, even for a few hours, makes us reassess our priorities and expectation in life. I could see how the beds and mosquito nets donated to Bishop Edward Memorial will make all the difference in the children's lives. Surely experience as this make us better people and more willing to serve the patient with our work." Although this donation could be considered as a modest token of the Company’s support, it has proven to be important for the local patients and the healthcare providers from this small community: it will allow mothers and children to have proper accommodations when remaining in the facilities for treatments against malaria, and the mission to increase their capacities at treating very vulnerable and uncared populations. On the same day, a similar donation for a public hospital was also received by the Deputy of the Tanzanian Ministry of Health. Members of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, conveyed at the Tanzanian Ministry of Health to formalize and celebrate the donation; the meeting was a great opportunity to open important dialogues with local governmental officials for potential collaborations to control malaria and to fill the gap of unmet medical needs. "We are very concerned with the prevalence of malaria across the world, and specifically, in Tanzania, and we want to collaborate with the government to control it" said Stefan Maron, Managing Director, South East Africa of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany. "The death toll for children has been cut in half over the last 6 years, but still we are struggling to prevent, diagnose and treat the disease", he concluded. About Malaria Malaria remains, with Tuberculosis and HIV, a major health and economic burden in a number of developing countries, and is amongst the 3 top killers of children under 5 years old. According to the latest WHO figures, about 3.2 billion people are at risk of malaria every year. In 2015, roughly 214 million malaria cases worldwide and an estimated 438 000 malaria deaths were recorded. About 91% of these deaths occur in Africa – more than 70% of them in children below 5 years old.