MSD scientists get set to tackle diseases of ageing at the Francis Crick Institute

Save Print

December 18, 2018 5:22 pm +00:00


Harry Dayantis
(The Francis Crick Institute)

020 3796 3606

MSD scientists get set to tackle diseases of ageing at the Francis Crick Institute

London: Monday 17th December 2018: One year on from the announcement to establish a new discovery science centre in London, creating up to 150 new science roles, MSD, a leading global biopharmaceutical company, has announced today that a new team of 15 discovery chemists and pharmacologists will be based at the Francis Crick Institute for the next five years researching diseases which affect our ageing populations, including conditions such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Disease. The medicinal chemists and pharmacologists working on the discovery projects in the institute will add further capabilities to the MSD neuroscience cell biology team already established at the London Bioscience Innovation Centre. Eventually both teams of scientists will be based in MSD’s new state-of-the-art Discovery Centre in London.

The Crick will welcome the first of MSD’s scientists to be based there early next year and the close working proximity of the two organisations will further develop the fertile and progressive life sciences environment flourishing in the capital, providing new innovation opportunities to develop novel understandings of diseases which continue to prove difficult to manage in our growing elderly population. An example of this is dementia, which in 2015 affected over 850,000 people in the UK and cost our economy £23.6 billion1, yet there are currently no treatments which prevent or delay the disease.

Whilst MSD’s research will be separate to that of the Crick’s, the co-localisation of basic research together with drug discovery will benefit both MSD and Crick scientists. MSD plan to establish translational research collaborations with Crick scientists. Under discussion is the possibility of enabling junior institute researchers to spend time both within the Crick laboratories as well as working with MSD. In addition discoveries made by Crick scientists may lead to innovative medicines of the future. Richard Treisman, Director of Research at the Crick, said: “We look forward to welcoming our new MSD colleagues to the Crick. Their specialist expertise in both fundamental research and drug discovery science, coupled with their industry perspective, will open new horizons for Crick scientists and vice versa.”

Fiona Marshall, Vice President and Head of Discovery Science at MSD UK said: “This is an exciting opportunity for our team who will be based in the Francis Crick Institute. We are at one of the most challenging yet exciting times in which innovative science and R&D may one day delay or even halt the onset of neurodegenerative diseases. The Crick is a world leading centre for discovery science in the UK and the co-location places us in excellent proximity to initiate broad ranging research interactions with Crick scientists in basic biology of mutual interest through to translational research to help us continue to build on our proud legacy of invention.”

MSD is evaluating locations in London for the site of their new state-of-the-art Discovery Centre and UK headquarters and hope to be able to provide an update on this soon.

1. Defeat Dementia – The Evidence and a Vision for Action, Alzheimer’s Research, 2015


Notes to editors

About MSD

For more than a century, MSD, a leading global biopharmaceutical company, has been inventing for life, bringing forward medicines and vaccines for the world’s most challenging diseases. MSD is a trade name of Merck & Co., Inc., with headquarters in Kenilworth, N.J., U.S.A. Through our prescription medicines, vaccines, biologic therapies 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 health care through far-reaching policies, programmes and partnerships. Today, MSD continues to be at the forefront of research to advance the prevention and treatment of diseases that threaten people and communities around the world. For more information, visit and connect with us on Twitter @MSDintheUK.

About MSD Research Laboratories

MSD employs approximately 19,000 people in the company’s research activities globally. The company’s R&D network operates and collaborates within leading biomedical ecosystems, including, the San Francisco Bay area, California; Boston/Cambridge, Massachusetts; New Jersey and Pennsylvania. The company prioritizes its research and development efforts and focuses on candidates that it believes represent breakthrough science that will make a difference for patients and payers. For further information please go to

Forward-Looking Statement

This news release of MSD (the “company”) includes “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the safe harbor provisions of the U.S. Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These statements are based upon the current beliefs and expectations of the company’s management and are subject to significant risks and uncertainties. There can be no guarantees with respect to pipeline products that the products will receive the necessary regulatory approvals or that they will prove to be commercially successful. If underlying assumptions prove inaccurate or risks or uncertainties materialise, actual results may differ materially from those set forth in the forward-looking statements. Risks and uncertainties include but are not limited to, general industry conditions and competition; general economic factors, including interest rate and currency exchange rate fluctuations; the impact of pharmaceutical industry regulation and health care legislation in the United States and internationally; global trends toward health care cost containment; technological advances, new products and patents attained by competitors; challenges inherent in new product development, including obtaining regulatory approval; the company’s ability to accurately predict future market conditions; manufacturing difficulties or delays; financial instability of international economies and sovereign risk; dependence on the effectiveness of the company’s patents and other protections for innovative products; and the exposure to litigation, including patent litigation, and/or regulatory actions.

The company undertakes no obligation to publicly update any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise. Additional factors that could cause results to differ materially from those described in the forward-looking statements can be found in the company’s 2017 Annual Report on Form 10-K and the company’s other filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) available at the SEC’s Internet site (

GB-NON-03691 | Date of Preparation: 13th December 2018 | Reapproval: November 2020