Photo of Merck & Co., Inc.

Merck & Co., Inc.

  • National Medal of Technology and Innovation
  • Medicine

For sustained innovation focusing on the discovery, development and worldwide commercialization of superior human and animal health products while maintaining proper concern for the environment.

Merck & Company, Inc., has been working to discover and develop vaccines for more than a century. The Centers for Disease Control & Protection (CDC) considers immunizations one of the ten great public health achievements of the 20th century, and Merck has been at the forefront of lifesaving vaccine developments.

In the early 1900s, it’s estimated that around 6,000 people in the U.S. per year died of measles-related infections. In 1957, a scientist at Merck, Maurice Hellman, developed the first measles vaccine. Hellman’s original virus strain continues to be used in the trivalent measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine; the first vaccine ever approved incorporating multiple live virus strains.

After the introduction of the MMR vaccine in 1963, reported cases of measles in the U.S. fell from hundreds of thousands to fewer than 200 cases per year by 2000, due to high vaccination rates. Merck continues to develop lifesaving treatments, vaccines and technologies, saving millions of lives each year.

By Jen Santisi