Merck Sharpe and Dohme and its partner Sanofi Pasteur have commenced a clinical study of a new vaccine designed to treat a range of diseases among children.
The companies have begun a phase III study of the hexavalent combination vaccine that will test the safety and immunogenicity of the drug when administered concomitantly with Prevnar 13 and Rotateq.
This treatment contains a variety of compounds designed to offer protection against diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, polio, hepatitis B and invasive disease caused by Haemophilus influenzae type B.
Initially the clinical programme will be conducted in the US, with European studies set to begin later in 2011.
Dr Tony Ford-Hutchinson, senior vice-president for vaccines research at Merck, said: "The need to consolidate vaccinations for infants will become increasingly important as the number of diseases that vaccines help prevent continues to increase."
Last week, Merck Sharpe and Dohme signed a new distribution agreement with Johnson and Johnson that will allow the inflammatory disease treatments Remicade and Simponi to be distributed by the Janssen brand in certain territories.See all the latest jobs in Pharmaceutical