Merck is introducing its muscle mass to the battle in opposition to COVID-19, asserting moves to build a vaccine with an Austrian biotech company and a study nonprofit.

The world’s premier vaccine maker said Monday it will get Vienna-based Themis, which has been performing with the Institut Pasteur on a COVID-19 vaccine based on a measles vaccine.

“We are keen to mix our strengths the two to build an powerful COVID-19 vaccine in the in close proximity to phrase and to construct a pandemic preparedness ability directed toward emerging agents that pose a long term epidemic danger,” Dr. Roger Perlmutter, president of Merck Exploration Laboratories, said in a information release.

In a further significant shift, Merck is partnering with the nonprofit IAVI on the enhancement of a vaccine linked to Merck’s existing Ebola vaccine.

As FierceBiotech stories, Merck, whose vaccine business enterprise produced gross sales of $eight.4 billion past 12 months, had “stayed on the sidelines in the early days of the pandemic as friends these as AstraZeneca, Pfizer, and Sanofi positioned bets on COVID-19 vaccine candidates.”

“In deciding upon Themis as a vital plank of its COVID-19 technique, Merck has indicated it thinks the biotech’s vaccine can clear a higher bar,” FierceBiotech said.

The Themis vaccine is based on a modified measles virus that provides bits of the SARS-CoV-two virus into the physique to avoid COVID-19 whilst the IAVI vaccine works by using the similar technological innovation as Merck’s Ebola vaccine, Ervebo. The two vaccines are made working with technologies that have resulted in licensed merchandise.

“We desired to be in a placement where we could opt for items that have the ideal sort of attributes to make a contribution for a virus that’s possible to be with us for some time,” Merck CEO Ken Frazier informed Reuters.

The business has beforehand said it is trying to recognize inside resources and deal producers that would help it to develop 1 billion doses of a COVID-19 vaccine.

Cantor Fitzgerald analyst Louise Chen said in a study take note she predicted Merck to be “an important player in the COVID-19 vaccines and therapies landscape” and known as the solution to go after multiple vaccine approaches “a good usually means to diversify risk.”

COVID-19, IAVI, Ken Frazier, Merck, Themis, vaccine