Sun Pharmaceutical Industries has announced the creation of a joint venture with global pharmaceutical major Merck & Co., Inc (known as MSD outside the U.S. and Canada) to develop, manufacture and commercialise new combination and formulations of innovative branded generics in the emerging markets.

The emerging markets are represented by Asia-Pacific countries, Latin America, Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa.

Addressing the media, Kevin Ali, president, Emerging Markets, Merck-MSD, said, “Merck's emerging markets strategy is driven by our overarching focus on applying innovation across our business from introducing novel compounds to broadening our focus on innovative branded generics. By combining forces with Sun, we are complementing our innovative product portfolio for addressing the diverse needs of patients, physicians and governments across the emerging markets.”

The yet unnamed joint venture company will combine Sun's expertise in rapid, innovative product development using Sun Pharma Advanced Research Company (SPARC) proprietary platform technologies and Sun Pharma's manufacturing network footprint.

This development follows earlier tie-ups by multinationals with Indian pharmaceutical companies in the recent past. British pharma major GlaxoSmithKline tied up for supply of branded generics with Dr. Reddy's Laboratories last year, AstraZeneca similarly tied up with Torrent Pharmaceuticals and German major Bayer tied up with Ahmedabad-based Cadila Healthcare in January this year.

Dilip Shanghvi, Chairman and Managing Director, Sun Pharma, said, “This joint venture will be put together in the next few weeks. It reinforces our strategy of partnership to launch products using our highly innovative delivery technologies around the world.

The joint venture will be for new, differentiated and innovative products and is independent of the existing portfolio of both companies.”

Without disclosing any financial details, both joint venture partners indicated that the venture would be managed by a joint board and leadership team.

It will focus on ‘innovative branded generics' that bring together combinations of medicines using platform delivery technologies designed to enhance convenience for patients in emerging markets. It will be structured through Merck and Sun's respective subsidiaries. Sun is a speciality pharmaceutical company manu- facturing a range of formulations as branded and innovative generics in India, the U.S. and several emerging markets. In India, it is the leader across the psychiatry, neurology, cardiology, diabetology, gastroenterology, ophthalmology and orthopaedic therapy areas.

Merck & Co. is a global giant, present in 140 countries through prescription medicines, vaccines, biologic therapies and animal health products. It is estimated that during the coming decade, emerging markets are expected to drive 90 per cent of the world's pharmaceutical growth with 75 per cent of that growth coming from branded generics. In these markets, the growing burden of chronic disease, such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and hepatitis along with increasing population and economic prosperity, is leading to an increased demand for branded generics.

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