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Merck unveils Brazilian joint venture

Published on 17/02/12 at 09:21am
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Merck Inc has bolstered its presence in emerging markets by entering a joint venture with Brazilian firm Supera Farma Laboratorios. 

Due to be completed later this year, the deal takes in pharma and branded generic products from Cristália Produtos Quimicos Farmaceuticos and Eurofarma – the co-owners of Supera Farma – as well as Merck. 

The agreement will see the companies market, distribute and sell 30 products in Brazil across a range of therapy areas using a dedicated sales force separate from the three firms’ exisiting sales operations.

Cristália’s products are primarily focused on areas such as psychiatry, anesthesia and pain relief, while Eurofarma’s portfolio includes prescription drugs and oncology. 

Brazil, part of the so-called BRIC countries along with Russia, India and China, is increasingly seen by US and European pharma companies as a key place in which to do business.

“This venture is an important step forward in our strategy to grow our business in key markets and improve global access to our medicines and vaccines,” said Merck chief executive Kenneth Frazier.

For the Brazilian companies, the attraction of partnering with the US giant is an increase in competitiveness in their domestic market.

“Partnering with Merck is a strategic move to advance access to innovative pharmaceutical products,” said Eurofarma president Maurizio Billi.

Merck will own 51% of the join venture, with Cristália and Eurofarma having the other 49% between them, with a board and leadership team made of up of senior executives from each.

The three companies will maintain separate businesses in Brazil but are expected to pool resources on things like sales force training - Cristália has the largest sales force in the country.

Adam Hill

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