Wall Street Journal: Merck Lagging Behind in COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts

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Merck, the pharmaceutical giant with major operations in Montco, is lagging behind in COVID-19 vaccine efforts because it wanted to focus on proven technologies. Image via Merck.com.

Merck, the pharmaceutical giant with substantial operations in Montgomery County, is lagging behind in the COVID-19 vaccine efforts because it wanted to focus on proven technologies, write Gregory Zuckerman and Jared S. Hopkins for The Wall Street Journal.

When COVID-19 first emerged as a possible worldwide threat in mid-February, Merck executives and scientists took differing sides on what should be the company’s next step. With the company being the leader in global vaccines, some were eager to start on COVID-19 vaccine development.

However, Chief Executive Ken Frazier and R&D chief Roger Perlmutter did not want to focus efforts on an unproven vaccine technology.

Perlmutter said that the disagreement was linked to collaborating with other companies, “particularly other companies that were moving very rapidly with untested platforms.”

A month later, with the virus now declared a pandemic, Merck started searching for a partner for the development of a vaccine. But it was not until May when the company announced a COVID-19 vaccine program.

By then however, several rival companies had developed vaccines and had already begun testing them on volunteers, forcing Merck to play catch up.

Read more about Merck at The Wall Street Journal by clicking here.

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