WHITEHOUSE STATION, N.J. (AP) — Merck & Co., one of the world’s top developers and sellers of vaccines, has entered a partnership with a small drug developer to research and manufacture a potential Ebola vaccine now in initial patient testing.

The exclusive deal involves a vaccine candidate called rVSV-EBOV that’s under early development by BioProtection Systems, the vaccine-development subsidiary of NewLink Genetics Corp. of Ames, Iowa.

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The vaccine was originally created in labs of the Public Health Agency of Canada, which in 2010 signed a deal giving BioProtection Systems an exclusive license for the vaccine and the technology involved in producing it.

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Under the new deal, Merck, based in Whitehouse Station, New Jersey, gets exclusive rights to the vaccine and any follow-up products.

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