Brighter Futures in MS - Inspiring Short Film Premieres in Brussels

By Merck Serono, PRNE
Tuesday, January 11, 2011

GENEVA and BRUSSELS, January 12, 2011 - Merck Serono, a division of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, will premiere
today the international short film MS: It's a Marathon…Not a Sprint in
Brussels, Belgium.

This unique event marks the extraordinary collaboration of the Real MS:
Your Story competition winner Sarah Mead and award-winning director Robin
. Through the Real MS campaign, they have come together to produce a
powerful and inspiring short film to show the world that life with multiple
sclerosis (MS) can be redefined in a positive and fulfilling way.

"This has been an amazing experience and I have loved every minute,"
Sarah said. "Being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis is not an easy thing,
but I am proud to have been able to share my own personal experiences through
this film and I hope that it inspires others and shows how much is possible
when you put your heart and mind into achieving your goals. It takes courage
and vision, but the rewards are immeasurable."

Real MS: Your Story is the first element of an international campaign
that aims to raise global awareness of MS and demonstrate how life can and
could be improved for people living with MS, and their families and carers.

In recognition of the burden MS has on both people living with MS, their
loved ones and the economy, several expert speakers in the field of MS
convened at the premiere to discuss the issues surrounding MS, including
inconsistencies in the standard of care and socioeconomic burden, and forge a
way forward for patients and carers alike.

"Multiple sclerosis can be a debilitating disease, making patient support
and disease awareness very important," said John Golding, President of the
European Multiple Sclerosis Platform (EMSP). "Stories such as that of Sarah
are incredibly inspirational for everyone in the multiple sclerosis
community and we need to make sure that there are many, many more of these in
the future."

Sarah Mead's winning script concept was selected from over 100 entries
from around the world by an international judging panel made up of global
experts in MS and film, including Dr Chan, Helena Jidborg Alexander (MS
Trust), Sue Farringdon (MS Society), Del Thomas (MS Nurse), patient
ambassador Nathalie Blanc and director Robin Sheppard.

The Real MS campaign comprises a series of inspirational educational
competitions throughout 2010 and into 2011. Real MS hopes to give a voice to
those whose lives have been touched by MS, and celebrate their journeys,
achievements and ideas for the future management of the disease.

The unpredictability of MS means that people have to reinvent their lives
every day to overcome the daily challenges and reminders of their condition.
There may not yet be a cure, but effective treatments are available and other
ones are coming which might change the life of patients. Ongoing research and
development will hopefully empower people living with MS to get on with the
life they envision for themselves without having to think about the daily
difficulties that can remind them of the disease.

To find out more about the campaign and life with MS, and to access
footage from the world premiere, please visit

About the winner

Sarah Mead is a 40 year old woman from London who works for a software
development consultancy.

Her entry "MS: It's a Marathon…… Not A Sprint" compares her real-life
experience as a young woman training for the London Marathon, with the
emotional and physical process that many people go through of accepting an MS
diagnosis and learning to live again with multiple sclerosis.

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 biopharmaceutical division of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt,
Germany, a global pharmaceutical and chemical company. Headquartered in
Geneva, Switzerland, Merck Serono discovers, develops, manufactures and
markets prescription medicines of both chemical and biological origin in
specialist indications. In the United States and Canada, EMD Serono operates
as a separately incorporated affiliate of Merck Serono.

Merck Serono has leading brands serving patients with cancer (Erbitux(R),
cetuximab), multiple sclerosis (Rebif(R), interferon beta-1a), infertility
(Gonal-f(R), follitropin alfa), 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 over EUR 1bn, 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

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 40,000 (including Merck Millipore) 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.

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Merck Serono is a division of Merck.

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

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