August 12, 2015, Darmstadt, Germany — Merck Millipore, the Life Science division of Merck, today announced it is providing the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) with a $50,000 charitable contribution to support the development of a novel diagnostic and tracking platform for Ebola. The funds will be used by MIT Professor Lee Gehrke, PhD in MIT’s Institute for Medical Engineering and Science (IMES), whose lab is developing a rapid, real-time test for Ebola and other emerging viral threats.
“We’re proud to support Professor Gehrke’s team in this vital work,” said Udit Batra, President and CEO, Merck Millipore. “As the recent Ebola outbreak in West Africa demonstrates, rapid detection of the virus and isolation of infected individuals is critical to reducing mortality rates. The innovative platform being developed at MIT has the potential to be a game-changer in the fight against this dreaded disease and many others. Our collaboration with Professor Gehrke’s lab is an example of the industry-academia partnerships that will deliver the life science breakthroughs of the future.”
“We’re very grateful to Merck Millipore for this contribution, which will enable us to extend the capability of our disease detection and tracking platform to include not only Ebola Zaire, but other lethal hemorrhagic fever viruses, such as Marburg and Ebola Sudan,” said Gehrke, leading professor at MIT, whose multidisciplinary team includes experts in the areas of chemistry, engineering, programming and virology. “Rapid diagnosis of the type and severity of infection is the key to the successful containment of deadly outbreaks.”
Professor Gehrke’s lab is developing a platform for the rapid (less than 10 minutes), inexpensive ($3.00/test), multiplexed detection of disease and prognostic markers. Detection begins with a drop of blood placed on a lateral flow device. Virus and disease progression markers are detected using multicolored silver nanoparticles attached to antibodies. The resulting colored bands, each diagnostic for a different virus or infection-associated protein, are read on a cell phone and uploaded to a server via an application that allows health workers to monitor the spread of diseases in real time.
The charitable contribution to MIT is the most recent example of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany’s commitment to fighting Ebola and to partnering with organizations in pandemic preparedness. Over the past few months, the company has donated €250,000 to the German Red Cross for Ebola relief, and Merck Millipore has donated water purification systems to hospitals and clinics in several West African nations. In addition to direct donations, Merck Millipore is supporting a number of initiatives focused on developing therapeutics and vaccines for Ebola and other infectious diseases. For more information, please visit www.merckmillipore.com.
About Merck Millipore
Merck Millipore is the Life Science subsidiary of Merck, Darmstadt, Germany. As part of the global Life Science business of Merck, Merck Millipore offers a broad range of innovative performance products, services and business relationships that enable our customers' success in research, development and production of biotech and pharmaceutical drug therapies. Through dedicated collaboration on new scientific and engineering insights, and as one of the top three R&D investors in the life science tools industry, the Life Science business of Merck serves as a strategic partner to customers and helps advance the promise of life science. Headquartered in Billerica, Massachusetts, the global business has around 10,000 employees, operations in 66 countries and 2014 revenues of €2.7 billion. Merck Millipore operates as EMD Millipore in the U.S. and Canada.
Merck is a leading company for innovative and top-quality high-tech products in healthcare, life science and performance materials. The company has six businesses – Merck Serono, Consumer Health, Allergopharma, Biosimilars, Merck Millipore and Performance Materials – and generated sales of € 11.3 billion in 2014. Around 39,000 Merck employees work in 66 countries to improve the quality of life for patients, to foster the success of customers and to help meet global challenges. Merck is the world’s oldest pharmaceutical and chemical company – since 1668, the company has stood for innovation, business success and responsible entrepreneurship. Holding an approximately 70% interest, the founding family remains the majority owner of the company to this day. Merck, Darmstadt, Germany holds the global rights to the Merck name and brand. The only exceptions are Canada and the United States, where the company operates as EMD Serono, EMD Millipore and EMD Performance Materials.
For more information, please visit www.merckgroup.com