Merck’s New Research Chief Says to Team: ‘Get Back on the Horse’

“Much of what I need to do is reinstill in the organization the sense of competence, of vigor, of thoroughness and the willingness to take real risks in order to achieve something great,” Perlmutter continued. He also mentioned that part of his inspiration for returning to the company was his memory of Merck’s talented chemists and emphasis on breakthrough medicines, Reuters reports.

Merck has a laundry list of “firsts” in medicine: the company developed the first statin, the first ACE inhibitor blood-pressure drug, and the first measles vaccine. But that’s changed in recent years, and Perlmutter is taking the helm at an incredibly challenging time; Merck’s last innovative medicines, the Gardasil vaccine for HPV and a new kind of diabetes drug called Januvia, won approval in 2006, seven years ago now.

But Perlmutter remains optimistic. “It’s not an overnight thing, but people are developing a certain bounce to their step that was missing before, an actual sense that they can achieve something.”

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