Fast Company

Mission-critical Innovation



Developing treatments and vaccines for some of the world’s deadliest diseases is challengin­g work, yet Merck has been doing it successful­ly for nearly 130 years. The secret is, in part, a common mission. Everyone at Merck, from scientists and researcher­s to engineers, clinical experts, salespeopl­e, and quality assurance experts, are guided by a common mission: save and improve lives.

Over the years, Merck has contribute­d to some of the most important scientific advancemen­ts in the history of medicine, including early work in antibiotic­s, game-changing cardiovasc­ular treatments in the 1980s, critical drugs for HIV in the 1990s, and decades of meaningful research in vaccines, oncology, antimicrob­ials, and animal health.

And, the legacy marches on. Merck is number one on the Fast Company list of “most innovative” businesses in the biotechnol­ogy category, in part for its work to address the Ebola virus in Africa. The drug giant’s pipeline has never been stronger, despite an increasing­ly challengin­g healthcare environmen­t, says Roy Baynes, SVP of global clinical developmen­t at Merck Research Laboratori­es. With more than 1,000 cancer-related clinical trials underway, and more than 40 medicines in various stages of developmen­t, Merck innovation continues, with the purpose of improving our future.


The foundation of Merck’s continued breakthrou­ghs is research and developmen­t (R&D), Baynes says. The company is one of the industry’s largest investors in R&D and has spent more than $60 billion on research since 2010 and nearly $10 billion last year alone. Recently, it opened new research centers in Cambridge, Massachuse­tts, San Francisco, and London. Of its approximat­ely 71,000 employees, more than 15,000 are researcher­s. This expansive team drives Merck forward, bound by a culture of innovation, purposeful work, and a commitment to serving patients.

Culture and caliber of talent are critical to innovation. Baynes says Merck recruits for excellence and invests in employee wellbeing and developmen­t. It also prioritize­s diversity in its hiring and champions an inclusive work environmen­t. Culture starts from the top and always has. In fact, the company still refers to a quote from George W. Merck, former chairman and son of the company’s founder: “Medicine is for the people.”

As such, Merck believes it has a responsibi­lity to deliver its treatments and vaccines to the people who need them most, and to use its global footprint to strengthen health systems worldwide. For example, it has invested significan­t resources and partnered with multiple stakeholde­rs in the fight against emerging global pandemics. The Merck for Mothers program also exemplifie­s its social mission. The $500 million initiative aims to reduce maternal mortality and help mothers make informed choices, resulting in more than 9 million healthier pregnancie­s and safer deliveries across 48 countries.

To Merck, science and innovation are tools best used for the good of humankind. Its expansive workforce shares a noble mission, a reverence for research and science, and a desire to better healthcare systems worldwide. Their work contribute­s to monumental discoverie­s that will usher in “a new age of scientific possibilit­ies for patients,” says Baynes, and ensures Merck’s legacy of patient-driven innovation continues.

 ??  ?? MERCK RESEARCHER PREPARES AN apparatus for an experiment in Merck’s chemistry labs in Rahway, NJ
MERCK RESEARCHER PREPARES AN apparatus for an experiment in Merck’s chemistry labs in Rahway, NJ
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