Merck Taps Gerberding to Head Vaccines Division

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ePT--the Electronic Newsletter of Pharmaceutical Technology

Last week, Merck & Co. appointed Julie Gerberding president of Merck Vaccines.

Last week, Merck & Co. (Whitehouse Station, NJ) appointed Julie Gerberding president of Merck Vaccines. Gerberding, who was director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) from 2002 to 2009, will assume her new position on January 25, 2010.

At Merck, Gerberding will be responsible for commercializing the company’s current portfolio of vaccines. She also will plan the introduction of vaccines from the company’s pipeline and assist in Merck’s efforts to broaden access to its vaccines in the developing world. In addition, Gerberding will foster collaboration between the leaders of Merck Manufacturing Division and Merck Research Laboratories to maintain links between research, late-stage development, and manufacturing.

As director of CDC, Gerberding coordinated the agency’s responses to more than 40 emergencies, including anthrax bioterrorism, food-borne disease outbreaks, and natural disasters. Gerberding also advised international governments about urgent public-health issues such as severe acute respiratory syndrome, AIDS, and obesity.

“Vaccines are a cornerstone of Merck’s commitment to health and wellness,” said Richard T. Clark, Merck’s chairman and chief executive officer, in a press release. “We are delighted to welcome an expert of Dr. Gerberding’s caliber to Merck. As a preeminent authority in public health, infectious diseases, and vaccines, Dr. Gerberding is the ideal choice to lead Merck’s engagement with organizations around the world that share our commitment to the use of vaccines to prevent disease and save lives.”


“I’ve had the privilege in my previous work in academia and in the federal government to be a passionate advocate for public-health priorities such as vaccines, which are an imperative component of global health development,” said Gerberding in the press release. “I am very excited to be joining Merck, where I can help to expand access to vaccines around the world.”

Gerberding has received more than 50 awards and honors, including the US Department of Health and Human Services Distinguished Service Award for her leadership in responses to anthrax bioterrorism and the September 11, 2001, attacks. Merck’s global vaccine business is worth approximately $5 billion. The company markets pediatric, adolescent, and adult vaccines around the world. Merck markets vaccines for 12 of the 17 diseases for which the US Advisory Committee for Immunization Practices recommends vaccines.