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Merck Serono Unveils Global Design Competition Prototype

Pressmeddelande   •   Maj 30, 2012 09:00 CEST

• “Sports Walker” highlights innovative spirit of multiple sclerosis community

Geneva, Switzerland, May 30, 2012 – In honor of World MS Day, Merck Serono, a division of Merck, Darmstadt, Germany, and Brian Light, a person living with multiple sclerosis (MS), today unveiled the prototype of the “Sports Walker,” a state-of-the-art concept designed to provide support for someone with limited mobility, while keeping their hands free to play the sports they love.

Light was selected by the MS community as the overall winner of the “Real MS: Your Innovation” campaign, a global design competition sponsored by Merck Serono that challenged the MS community to submit unique and innovative ideas to help people overcome MS-related challenges. For Light, his main challenge was limited mobility, which made his 30-year-long hobby of playing volleyball nearly impossible, until the Sports Walker allowed him to get back on the court.

As the competition winner, Light traveled to the design studios of IDEO, an award-winning global design and innovation firm, where he worked hand-in-hand with IDEO designers to evolve and refine his idea.

“We spent a lot of time with Brian talking about how we could make the Sports Walker more portable, compact and applicable to daily life,” said Florian Altmann, senior designer and project lead at IDEO. “The final prototype is a compelling example of the potential that exists when patients innovate to solve everyday challenges.”

Your Innovation marks the second and final phase of the Real MS campaign, launched by Merck Serono in 2010 to build a greater understanding of MS and stimulate a hopeful message around navigating life with MS. The first competition, Your Story, featured a global script-writing competition that resulted in a short film about life with MS.

“The MS community inspires us every day, and Real MS was truly a celebration of this inspiration and positive spirit,” said Belén Garijo, Chief Operating Officer at Merck Serono. “As Real MS comes to a close, our work is by no means done. Merck Serono has always been committed to supporting the needs of people living with MS.”

Merck Serono’s commitment to patient support will continue in the form of, an international social network designed specifically for people living with and impacted by multiple sclerosis. For more information about UniteMS, Brian Light, or the Sports Walker, visit This site is not intended for use by residents of the United States, the United Kingdom and Ireland. United States residents should visit

About Real MS campaign

Real MS is a global education and awareness campaign designed to create a greater understanding of MS and stimulate a hopeful message around the management of the disease. The first stage of the Real MS campaign was launched in 2010 with Your Story competition, a global script writing competition with the aim of developing a short film that shows how life with MS can be redefined in a positive and fulfilling way. To view the winning short film, please visit

About is a groundbreaking international social network designed specifically for people living with and affected by MS around the world. UniteMS offers a digital venue for the MS community to empower themselves, gain inspiration from worldwide stories of hope, and explore a trusted environment with the easiest avenues to communicate with peers. The community features information from reliable sources about living with MS, MS symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment, along with feature articles from leaders in the MS community and expert commentary from healthcare professionals.

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. With headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, Merck Serono offers leading brands in 150 countries to help patients with cancer, multiple sclerosis, infertility, endocrine and metabolic disorders as well as cardiovascular diseases. In the United States and Canada, EMD Serono operates as a separately incorporated subsidiary of Merck Serono.

Merck Serono discovers, develops, manufactures and markets prescription medicines of both chemical and biological origin in specialist indications. We have an enduring commitment to deliver novel therapies in our core focus areas of neurodegenerative diseases, oncology and rheumatology.

About Merck

Merck is a global pharmaceutical and chemical company with total revenues of €10.3 billion in 2011, a history that began in 1668, and a future shaped by more than 40,000 employees in 67 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.

For more information, please visit or

Merck Serono är ett ledande läkemedelsföretag inom cancerbehandling, multipel skleros och hormonstimulerande medel för fertilitet. Merck Serono ägnar sig åt innovativ forskning, inriktad på att upptäcka, utveckla, tillverka och marknadsföra små molekyler eller biologiska läkemedel för att hjälpa patienter på områden där det finns stora behov för förbättring.


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