Infectious Disease Connect and ILÚM Health Solutions Combine to Advance Precision Treatment of Infectious Diseases and Antimicrobial Stewardship

May 19, 2020

Agreement Includes Strategic Investments from UPMC Enterprises and Merck Global Health Innovation Fund

KENILWORTH, N.J. & PITTSBURGH--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Merck (NYSE: MRK), known as MSD outside the United States and Canada, and UPMC today announced that Infectious Disease Connect Inc., a UPMC-backed company offering telemedicine-enabled solutions to hospitals for treatment of infectious diseases, has combined with Merck’s ILÚM Health Solutions, a provider of technology and services to support infectious disease management, clinical decision-support and precision antibiotic therapy.

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“The addition of ILÚM’s platform and capabilities arms Infectious Disease Connect’s physicians with an important tool to accelerate informed decision-making for the hospitals and patients they serve,” said David Zynn, president of Infectious Disease Connect. “Combining our respective expertise and resources positions us to enhance the care of patients with infections, optimize antimicrobial therapy, lower costs and reduce the potential for drug resistance.”

As part of this agreement, UPMC Enterprises, the innovation and commercialization arm of UPMC, and Merck Global Health Innovation Fund each are investing $5 million to support development of customer offerings and business growth for the newly combined entity. UPMC will retain a majority stake in the combined company.

Infectious Disease Connect has established a telemedicine solution for infectious disease care enabling doctors to access the expertise of an infectious disease specialist to facilitate timely diagnosis and treatment of patients under their care. With ILÚM’s platform, physicians and pharmacists will receive real-time antimicrobial usage and resistance data from partner hospitals to help them select appropriate therapy, while managing costs, toxicity and the potential for further resistance and transmission of infection. ILÚM uses machine learning to evaluate a patient’s demographic factors, medication history, past hospitalizations and other data to generate individualized treatment recommendations.

ILÚM also has developed a public health surveillance platform in conjunction with the New York State Department of Health to track and limit the spread of drug-resistant organisms and other infectious disease threats, including COVID-19.

“The rising level of resistance to antimicrobials remains a serious threat to public health, food safety and global security,” said Paul Edwards, chief executive officer, ILÚM. “This combination marries the excellence of Infectious Disease Connect’s physicians and telemedicine platform with the real-time intelligence needed to effectively manage increasingly complex and life-threatening infectious diseases, as seen in this current pandemic.”

With its expanded capabilities and efficiencies, the new Infectious Disease Connect aims to address the nationwide shortage of infectious disease physicians, the rapidly rising risk of hospital-acquired infections and inappropriate antimicrobial usage, which are estimated to cost hospitals more than $40 billion annually. The company can provide hospitals with infectious disease expertise and tools to help meet new federal regulations requiring evidence-based antimicrobial stewardship programs that produce measurable results.

Infectious Disease Connect, headquartered in Pittsburgh, will continue to serve ILÚM’s hospital customers and integrate most of its employees. The expanded company now serves hospitals in nine states.

About UPMC

A $21 billion health care provider and insurer, Pittsburgh-based UPMC is inventing new models of patient-centered, cost-effective, accountable care. The largest nongovernmental employer in Pennsylvania, UPMC integrates 89,000 employees, 40 hospitals, 700 doctors’ offices and outpatient sites, and a more than 3.7 million-member Insurance Services Division, the largest medical insurer in western Pennsylvania. In the most recent fiscal year, UPMC contributed $1.2 billion in benefits to its communities, including more care to the region’s most vulnerable citizens than any other health care institution, and paid $587 million in federal, state and local taxes. Working in close collaboration with the University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences, UPMC shares its clinical, managerial and technological skills worldwide through its innovation and commercialization arm, UPMC Enterprises, and through UPMC International. U.S. News & World Report consistently ranks UPMC Presbyterian Shadyside on its annual Honor Roll of America’s Best Hospitals and ranks UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh on its Honor Roll of America’s Best Children’s Hospitals. For more information, go to UPMC.com.

Merck’s Commitment to Infectious Diseases

For more than 100 years, Merck has contributed to the discovery and development of novel medicines and vaccines to combat infectious diseases. In addition to a combined portfolio of vaccines and antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal medicines, Merck has multiple programs that span discovery through late-stage development. To learn more about Merck’s infectious diseases pipeline, visit www.merck.com.

About Merck Global Health Innovation Fund

Merck Global Health Innovation Fund (Merck GHIF) is evolving corporate healthcare venture capital globally by utilizing their healthcare ecosystem strategy. This investment strategy connects innovative companies with complementary technologies to develop integrated healthcare solutions. Merck GHIF has $500M under management and provides growth capital to emerging healthcare technology companies worldwide while leveraging the vast R&D-based, global resources of Merck. With a vision that data will be the currency in healthcare, GHIF invests broadly in digital health. GHIF invests in platform companies with proven technologies or business models where Merck’s expertise and perspectives can accelerate revenue growth and enhance value creation. Since late 2010, Merck GHIF has made over 50 investments in Digital Health companies (www.merckghifund.com).

About Merck

For more than 125 years, Merck, known as MSD outside of the United States and Canada, has been inventing for life, bringing forward medicines and vaccines for many of the world’s most challenging diseases in pursuit of our mission to save and improve lives. We demonstrate our commitment to patients and population health by increasing access to health care through far-reaching policies, programs and partnerships. Today, Merck continues to be at the forefront of research to prevent and treat diseases that threaten people and animals – including cancer, infectious diseases such as HIV and Ebola, and emerging animal diseases – as we aspire to be the premier research-intensive biopharmaceutical company in the world. For more information, visit www.merck.com and connect with us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and LinkedIn.

Forward-Looking Statement of Merck & Co., Inc., Kenilworth, N.J., USA

This news release of Merck & Co., Inc., Kenilworth, N.J., USA (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 materialize, 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 the recent global outbreak of novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19); 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 2019 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 (www.sec.gov).

UPMC Contact:
Courtney Caprara
Office: 412-647-6190
Mobile: 412-592-8134
E-mail: CapraraCL@upmc.edu

UPMC Contact:
Wendy Zellner
Office: 412-586-9777
Mobile: 412-973-7266
Email: ZellnerWL@upmc.edu

Merck Media Contact:
Pamela Eisele
267-305-3558

Merck Investor Relations Contact:
Peter Dannenbaum
908-740-1037

Source: Merck & Co., Inc.