PPD, Inc. has entered into a strategic collaboration with Merck & Co., Inc., involving vaccine testing and assay development. Under the agreements, PPD purchased Merck’s 130,000 square-foot vaccine testing laboratory and related equipment in Wayne, Penn., and hired the nearly 80 Merck professionals who operate this state-of-the-art facility. As part of this collaboration, PPD will be providing Merck with assay development and immunogenicity testing services to support Merck’s vaccine portfolio over a period of five years. In addition, PPD entered into an agreement with Merck that significantly expands its existing central laboratory service relationship. Under this agreement, PPD will be providing traditional central laboratory and sample storage services to Merck for its clinical development activities over a period of five years. The acquisition of Merck’s vaccine testing facility significantly expands PPD’s overall global central laboratory business, adding world-class vaccine and biologic testing, assay development and sample storage capabilities to its current suite of laboratory services. PPD plans to invest in the newly acquired lab by developing new technologies and assays to expand its immunochemistry and oncology vaccine testing services as well as biologics lab services for other biopharmaceutical clients. “We believe strategic outsourcing is key to the future of R&D and represents an innovative approach to the challenges facing our pharmaceutical and biotechnology clients,” said Fred Eshelman, chief executive officer of PPD. “This collaboration with Merck represents a unique opportunity for us to acquire leading scientific talent and state-of-the-art facilities, expand an existing relationship with a long-time client and offer a new service line to other customers in the growing vaccine market.” Agostino L. Fede, senior vice president of PPD and head of global central labs said, “With this acquisition, we believe we are the first CRO to have a central lab that offers a comprehensive menu of assay development and testing services for vaccine clinical trials. We are delighted to have entered into this collaborative arrangement with Merck, and are excited to welcome our Merck colleagues to PPD and begin working together to grow and expand this new business unit.” He added that “this transaction demonstrates PPD’s collaborative approach to delivering high quality, reliable and timely laboratory services and data to key biopharmaceutical companies.” “Merck and PPD worked together during the past several months to develop a novel and robust approach to expand our long-standing and trusted relationship,” said Tony Ford-Hutchinson, senior vice president, Merck Research Labs. “We found a partner that was receptive to our business needs and brought practical solutions to ensure the continuity of our operations.” The transaction closed on December 31, 2008. Financial details of the transaction were not disclosed.