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Merck announced today that the company has entered into an agreement with HAPPYneuron

June 13, 10:00 UTC+3
Agreement provides Merck with exclusive license to cognitive remediation training programs
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DARMSTADT, Germany, June 13, 2016/PRNewswire/. Merck, a leading science and technology company, announced today that the company has entered into an agreement with HAPPYneuron, a subsidiary of SBT Group of France, in which Merck will receive an exclusive license to the company's cognitive remediation training program for people living with multiple sclerosis (MS). This agreement complements Merck's broad portfolio of patient support programs in MS and underscores the company's commitment to leveraging digital platforms and technologies to benefit patients in need. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

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HAPPYneuron's cognitive remediation program will be available for inclusion in Merck's MSdialog platform, when deemed beneficial for a patient by his/her healthcare provider. HAPPYneuron is designed to improve cognitive skills through brain training by repeated cognitive game training exercises. The in-licensing and integration of HAPPYneuron into the MSdialog platform will allow Merck to expand its first-of-its-kind e-Health solution for people living with MS.

"We have a long-standing commitment to delivering therapeutic and support solutions to people living with MS," said Rehan Verjee, Chief Marketing and Strategy Officer of Merck's biopharma business. "The platform will enhance the attractiveness of MSdialog to patients and HCPs by seeking to address these cognitive deficit symptoms and further fostering the monitoring of the cognitive state of patients."

The HAPPYneuron software-based cognitive training is backed by more than 10 years of clinical data and is designed to address cognitive function across various domains.

HAPPYneuron's suite of cognitive training games are designed to address the cognition challenges that people living with MS face, and the games automatically adjust skill to match the need of the individual - making the platform interesting for the patient and simple for healthcare professionals to use with their patients.

"We are very proud that Merck chose our program," said Franck Tarpin-Bernard, HAPPYneuron President. "This agreement is a strong acknowledgement of the hard work we have achieved these past years to build training programs adapted to the uniqueness of each medical condition. It reinforces our willingness to become a world leader of digital cognitive remediation."

MSdialog is a multi-tenant cloud-based software system for the management of MS that captures and presents patient outcome data to enable better decision-making by patients and providers. The software system provides patients with reminders to take their Rebif(R) (interferon beta-1a) medication, synchronizes with the new RebiSmart(R) auto-injector, monitors patient's adherence information to their treatment and monitors clinical data. MSdialog also allows people with MS to engage in the management of their disease by asking them to complete periodic health report questionnaires based on short forms of published instruments and standard scales, such as the Multiple Sclerosis Quality of Life Inventory (MSQLI) and the Multiple Sclerosis International Quality of Life (MusiQoL) questionnaires.

MSdialog is currently available in 24 countries. MSdialog with HAPPYneuron will be made available to MS patients initially in a phased roll out beginning in Brazil, Argentina, Israel, Italy, France and the Netherlands.

About Rebif(R) 

Rebif(R) (interferon beta-1a) is a disease-modifying drug used to treat relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis (MS) and is similar to the interferon beta protein produced by the human body. The efficacy of Rebif(R) in chronic progressive MS has not been established. Interferon ss is thought to help reduce inflammation. The exact mechanism is unknown.

Rebif(R), which was approved in Europe in 1998 and in the US in 2002, is registered in more than 90 countries worldwide. Rebif(R) has been proven to delay the progression of disability, reduce the frequency of relapses and reduce MRI lesion activity and area*.

Rebif(R) can be administrated with the RebiSmart(R) electronic auto-injection device (not approved in the US), or with the RebiDose(R) single-use disposable pen, or the manual multidose injection pen RebiSlide(TM). Rebif(R) can also be administered with the autoinjector Rebiject II(R) or by manual injection using ready-to-use pre-filled syringes. These injection devices are not approved in all countries.

In January 2012, the European commission approved the extension of the indication of Rebif(R) in early multiple sclerosis. The extension of the indication of Rebif(R) has not been submitted in the United States.

Rebif(R) should be used with caution in patients with a history of depression, liver disease, thyroid abnormalities and seizures. Most commonly reported side effects are flu-like symptoms, injection site disorders, elevation of liver enzymes and blood cell abnormalities. Patients, especially those with depression, seizure disorders, or liver problems, should discuss treatment with Rebif(R) with their doctors.

*The exact correlation between MRI findings and the current or future clinical status of patients, including disability progression, is unknown.

Rebif(R) (interferon beta-1a) is approved in the United States for relapsing forms of MS.  RebiSmart(R), an electronic device for self-injection of Rebif(R), and MSdialog are also not approved in the United States.

About Multiple Sclerosis 

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic, inflammatory condition of the central nervous system and is the most common, non-traumatic, disabling neurological disease in young adults. It is estimated that approximately two million patients have MS worldwide. While symptoms can vary, the most common symptoms of MS include blurred vision, numbness or tingling in the limbs and problems with strength and coordination. The relapsing forms of MS are the most common.

About HAPPYneuron  

HAPPYneuron is the Smart Health division of SBT Group and a pioneer of brain training industry. Based in France and the United States, HAPPYneuron designs specific cognitive remediation solutions with a rich library of over 200 customizable activities, unique algorithms for analyzing performance, and coaching features.

Its main products target patients suffering from medical conditions that affect cognitive functions (stroke, Alzheimer's, schizophrenia, depression, multiple sclerosis, learning and attention disorders, etc.) and health professionals (speech therapists, neuropsychologists, occupational therapists, psychiatrists, etc.) looking for powerful rehabilitation tools. With its experimented scientific and technological knowledge, HAPPYneuron also adapts and integrates its programs inside third-party platforms (pharmaceutical industry, insurance companies, etc.).

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About Merck 

Merck is a leading science and technology company in healthcare, life science and performance materials. Around 50,000 employees work to further develop technologies that improve and enhance life - from biopharmaceutical therapies to treat cancer or multiple sclerosis, cutting-edge systems for scientific research and production, to liquid crystals for smartphones and LCD televisions. In 2015, Merck generated sales of EUR 12.85 billion in 66 countries.

Founded in 1668, Merck is the world's oldest pharmaceutical and chemical company. The founding family remains the majority owner of the publicly listed corporate group. Merck, Darmstadt, Germany holds the global rights to the Merck name and brand. The only exceptions are the United States and Canada, where the company operates as EMD Serono, MilliporeSigma and EMD Performance Materials.

Photo: Source: Merck

Your Contact: Stephen McGettrick +1-781-681-2104 

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