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Research & Development Overview

We run to, not from, the world’s biggest health challenges.

The journey to discovery is guided by science – and inspired by patients

Our purpose is to save and improve lives for generations. Our strategy is simple: We follow the science. The path to discovery is often unclear, but we are tireless in seeking solutions for some of the world’s most difficult health challenges.

Our work in numbers


people employed in research and development globally


people reached through our major programs and partnerships across the globe


invested in R&D globally in 2020

Our areas of focus

We focus on scientific innovation to deliver medicines and vaccines that may help millions of people around the world


MSD is inventing new ways to treat cancer, with more than 850 clinical studies underway globally. Our immuno-oncology research is one of the fastest growing in this industry. Our work with the NHS and NICE enabled more than 900 patients to access our cancer treatment 5 months earlier.


Over the past century, MSD has invented more than 40 vaccines to protect children, adolescents, adults and animals from serious diseases. At the forefront of research, MSD has developed some of the first ever vaccines in various therapy areas, now used in more than 130 countries.

Infectious Diseases

As one of the few remaining large pharmaceutical companies actively researching and developing antibiotics, MSD has played a leading role in advocating changes to the way in which antibiotics are made available in the UK. We also play an important role in areas such as HIV and Ebola.


As a company dedicated to saving and improving lives, we have a special responsibility to help in the fight against COVID-19. We've been fully committed to developing an effective response to the COVID-19 pandemic since it was first recognised

Cardio-Metabolic Diseases

Our commitment to cardiovascular care began with one of the first oral antihypertensive medications in the 1950s and continued with research leading to new cholesterol-lowering statins in the 1970s. Our work in assisting the UK's 4.7 million diagnosed diabetes sufferers goes beyond medicine, to address the lifestyle challenges associated with the condition.

Discovery and Development

We follow the science where we can make the greatest difference, now and in the future. 

Our commitment to patients is unwavering

As long as there are still patients in hospitals, doctors and nurses desperate to add years to the lives of their patients, and a world where treatments aren’t accessible to all, we will be here, fighting with all we have to deliver more, sooner.

Job code: GB-NON-05895 | Date of Preparation: May 2022