Merck & Co and Sun Pharma establish joint venture

To develop new generic medicines for emerging markets

Merck & Co of the US has signed a joint venture with Sun Pharmaceutical Industries, an Indian manufacturer of generics, to develop new combinations and formulations of branded generic medicines in emerging markets.

According to Merck, increasing population and growing economic prosperity are leading to higher demand for generic medicines in emerging markets, which are also seeing an increase in chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes and hepatitis.

It is estimated that over the coming decade, emerging markets will drive 90% of the world's pharmaceutical growth, with 75% of that growth coming from branded generics, the companies said.

Financial details of the partnership were not revealed.

Sun Pharma's drug development unit, Sun Pharma Advanced Research Company, will develop the drugs and Sun Pharma will handle manufacturing. Merck will provide clinical development and registration expertise and a broad, geographic commercial footprint.

The companies will focus on 'innovative branded generics' that bring together combinations of medicines using platform delivery technologies that enhance convenience for patients in emerging markets.

Kevin Ali, president, Emerging Markets at Merck, said: ‘By combining forces with Sun Pharma, we are complementing our innovative product portfolio with a solid foundation for addressing the diverse needs of patients, physicians and governments across the emerging markets.’

The collaboration will be managed by a joint board and leadership team, consisting of members of senior management from both companies.

‘This joint venture reinforces our strategy of partnering to launch products using our highly innovative delivery technologies around the world,’ said Dilip Shanghvi, chairman and managing director, Sun Pharmaceutical Industries.

Ali added: ‘Merck has a proud legacy of developing innovative medicines and vaccines with proven ability to impact global human health.

‘We are making good progress executing on our emerging markets growth strategy by establishing novel partnerships and strategic alliances. This joint venture helps position us for leadership in the fastest-growing geographies.’