Merck & Co. is getting a new director of research and development.

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The world's third-biggest drugmaker by revenue says Dr. Roger Perlmutter, a former research executive at Merck and Amgen Inc., will begin running Merck Research Laboratories on April 15.

He'll succeed Peter S. Kim, who's overseen the labs since 2003. The two will work together initially, then Kim will serve as an adviser until leaving Merck in August.

Steven Cragle, a spokesman for the Whitehouse Station, N.J., company says the moves are part of long-term succession planning.

Perlmutter, 60, served as executive vice president and head of research and development at Amgen from January 2001 to February 2012. He oversaw development of several new pills and biologic drugs for cancer, endocrine and blood disorders, osteoporosis and inflammation.


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