Walker signs agreement with Alzheimer's researchers, meets with Merck executives in Germany

Economic Indicators Associated Press

Gov. Scott Walker agreed Monday to increase collaboration between researchers in Germany and at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health to combat Alzheimer's disease and other similar ailments.

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Walker signed the deal with the German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases in Bonn while in Germany at the beginning of a weeklong trade mission that will also take him to France and Spain. The agreement is with the UW Institute for Clinical and Translational Research.

The agreement calls for collaborating in a variety of ways, including identifying new methods to improve the care of patients with Alzheimer's, implementing and disseminating best practices for the diagnosis and care of patients with the disease and developing new ways to slow the onset of Alzheimer's and dementia.

The new partnership "promises a significantly greater pace of discovery than would otherwise be possible," said Richard Moss, the senior associate dean at the UW School of Medicine. Moss signed the deal on behalf of UW.

The German research facility was founded in 2009 and has more than 800 employees at nine sites across the country, working with more than 70 research groups on various brain diseases. The state of Wisconsin has established a $1 million seed fund to support commercialization of medical technology developed by the UW School of Medicine and Public Health.

Walker also met Monday with company leaders at pharmaceutical giant Merck. Walker's office said he spoke with Merck officials about the company's acquisition of Sigma-Aldrich Corp., a U.S. life sciences business with three facilities in Wisconsin.

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The governor was slated to give a speech about bilateral trade and investment opportunities at the Hannover Messe trade show in Hannover, Germany, on Tuesday. Walker also attended the opening ceremony on Sunday. The speech was his only scheduled public event for the remainder of the trade mission that runs all week.

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