Merck Healthcare

Your Story, Your Voice, Your Achievements, Your Ideas ... This Is About Life, Real Life, Real MS

Geneva, May 26, 2010 (ots/PRNewswire) - Merck Serono, a division of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, announced the launch of Real MS today on World MS Day 2010. Real MS, a global multiple sclerosis (MS) awareness campaign, aims to unite the voice of those affected by the disease and demonstrate how life with MS can be lived positively. Comprising inspirational educational competitions throughout 2010 and into 2011, the Real MS campaign will celebrate the stories, the achievements and the ideas of the global MS community, and help share their vision for the future management of the disease.

MS affects approximately two million people around the world and is usually diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 40. Common symptoms of MS include unexplained constant fatigue, loss of sight, loss of sensations, loss of balance, weakness and speech/swallowing and cognitive problems.

The unpredictability of MS means that people have to reinvent their lives every day to overcome the daily struggles and reminders of their condition.

"A diagnosis of MS can be devastating at first," said Dr. Roberto Gradnik, Head of Global Business Unit Neurodegenerative Diseases at Merck Serono. "The goal of Real MS is to change global perception of the disease and we hope that its positive message will inspire and empower the MS Community to find ways to live the lives they want."

The first element of the campaign, Real MS: Your Story, will launch in June 2010, along with the campaign website. This element of the campaign aims to use the power of short film to show the world that life with MS can be redefined in a positive and fulfilling way. Real MS: Your Story invites competition entrants to submit their idea for a short film plot in the form of a script concept. The winning script concept, to be determined by an international judging panel of experts and online voting through the Real MS campaign website, will be developed into a 3-5 minute short film and distributed later in 2010.

For more information on World MS Day, click here: http://www.worldmsday.org/home

About Real MS campaign

Real MS is an international campaign that aims to raise global awareness of the disease and demonstrate how life with MS can and should be better. Comprising inspirational educational competitions throughout 2010 and into 2011, the first campaign competition (Real MS: Your Story) aims to use the power of a short film to show the world that life with MS can be redefined in a positive and fulfilling way. The Real MS: Your Story competition is not open to US residents.

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 people 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 Merck Serono

Merck Serono is the division for innovative prescription pharmaceuticals of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, a global pharmaceutical and chemical company. Headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland, Merck Serono discovers, develops, manufactures and markets innovative small molecules and biopharmaceuticals to help patients with unmet medical needs. In the United States and Canada, EMD Serono operates through separately incorporated affiliates.

Merck Serono has leading brands serving patients with cancer (Erbitux(R), cetuximab), multiple sclerosis (Rebif(R), interferon beta-1a), infertility (Gonal-f(R), follitropin alpha), endocrine and metabolic disorders (Saizen(R) and Serostim(R), somatropin), (Kuvan(R), sapropterin dihydrochloride) as well as cardiometabolic diseases (Glucophage(R), metformin), (Concor(R), bisoprolol), (Euthyrox(R), levothyroxine). Not all products are available in all markets.

With an annual R&D expenditure of more than EUR 1 billion, Merck Serono is committed to growing its business in specialist-focused therapeutic areas including neurodegenerative diseases, oncology, fertility and endocrinology, as well as new areas potentially arising out of research and development in autoimmune and inflammatory diseases.

About Merck

Merck is a global pharmaceutical and chemical company with total revenues of EUR 7.7 billion in 2009, a history that began in 1668, and a future shaped by approximately 33,600 employees in 64 countries. Its success is characterized by innovations from entrepreneurial employees. Merck's operating activities come under the umbrella of Merck KGaA, in which the Merck family holds an approximately 70% interest and free shareholders own the remaining approximately 30%. In 1917 the U.S. subsidiary Merck & Co. was expropriated and has been an independent company ever since.

For more information, please visit http://www.merckserono.com or http://www.merck.de

Contact:

CONTACT: Merck Serono S.A. - Geneva, 9 Chemin des Mines, 1202
Genève,Suisse, Media relations, Tel: +41-22-414-36-00

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