Roche and Merck Establish Strategic Agreements in Fight Against Chronic Hepatitis C

Roche announced that it has entered into agreements with Merck, known as MSD outside the United States, through their respective subsidiaries, to improve the treatment, diagnosis and awareness of chronic hepatitis C (HCV) infection in the United States. The companies are working together to extend these agreements to other developed and emerging markets worldwide.

Researchers affiliated with both companies will collaborate to explore new combinations of investigational and marketed medicines. The aim is to expedite the availability of potential new treatment regimens for patients with HCV.

Under the terms of the non-exclusive agreements in the United States, Genentech, a member of the Roche Group, will include Victrelis™ (boceprevir) as part of its promotion to healthcare professionals on the use of Pegasys (peginterferon alfa-2a) in a triple combination therapy regimen. Pegasys is the foundation of the current standard of care in chronic hepatitis C. The companies will work together to educate physicians and patients about hepatitis C, including the diagnosis of the disease.

“Triple combination therapy for hepatitis C marks a major change in the way this disease is treated,” said Pascal Soriot, Roche Pharmaceuticals Division, Chief Operating Officer. “The use of these medicines in combination offers better treatment outcomes for patients. Roche will work with Merck to provide health care professionals and patients with education about the management of hepatitis C. Both companies will also collaborate to develop improved therapies for this serious disease.”

“These agreements are consistent with both companies’ goal of improving healthcare outcomes for patients with chronic hepatitis C,” said Adam H. Schechter, executive vice president and president, Global Human Health, Merck. “Hepatitis C often goes undetected for many years. By working together we will be able to provide physicians, nurses and patients with education about the disease, its diagnosis and treatment options including the appropriate use of Victrelis.”

Pegasys in hepatitis C

Pegasys is approved for the treatment of chronic hepatitis C. It is approved in the EU, the US and the People’s Republic of China among others.

Roche’s commitment to hepatitis C

Roche has a longstanding history of innovative and groundbreaking research, and development of new medicines and diagnostic tools, for people living with viral hepatitis. Building on its responsibilities as market leader, development efforts are underway with several novel molecules including mericitabine (RG7128), danoprevir (RG7227) and RG7432 that have potential to advance treatment options for hepatitis. Roche is also at the forefront in HCV testing and monitoring. The company’s commitment to health care practitioners and patients is supported by its best-in-class access and support services.

About Merck

Today’s Merck is a global healthcare leader working to help the world be well. Merck is known as MSD outside the United States and Canada. Through our prescription medicines, vaccines, biologic therapies, and consumer care and animal health products, we work with customers and operate in more than 140 countries to deliver innovative health solutions. We also demonstrate our commitment to increasing access to healthcare through far-reaching policies, programs and partnerships. For more information, visit
About Roche

Headquartered in Basel, Switzerland, Roche is a leader in research-focused healthcare with combined strengths in pharmaceuticals and diagnostics. Roche is the world’s largest biotech company with truly differentiated medicines in oncology, virology, inflammation, metabolism and CNS. Roche is also the world leader in in-vitro diagnostics, tissue-based cancer diagnostics and a pioneer in diabetes management. Roche’s personalised healthcare strategy aims at providing medicines and diagnostic tools that enable tangible improvements in the health, quality of life and survival of patients. In 2010, Roche had over 80’000 employees worldwide and invested over 9 billion Swiss francs in R&D. The Group posted sales of 47.5 billion Swiss francs. Genentech, United States, is a wholly owned member of the Roche Group. Roche has a majority stake in Chugai Pharmaceutical, Japan. For more information: