29 Jul 2010 13:31

Merck and Sinopharm form vaccine JV

Shanghai. July 29. INTERFAX-CHINA - U.S.-based Merck Co. Inc. has signed a statement of mutual intent with China National Pharmaceutical Group Corp. (Sinopharm) to establish a vaccine joint venture (JV) in China, Merck announced on its Web site on July 27.

According to the announcement, the JV will focus on marketing human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccines and other selected vaccine products in China. Merck also plans to market its pharmaceutical products through the JV.

The announcement did not disclose detailed terms of the agreement.

No HPV vaccines have been approved for the China market to-date, and Merck's vaccine is currently undergoing clinical trials in the country. HPV infection is a major cause of cervical cancer.

"Expanding our business in emerging markets throughout the world is critical to the mission and growth of Merck, and innovative partnerships are a key element of our approach," Richard T. Clark, Merck's chairman and chief executive officer (CEO), said in the statement.

Merck has tried to increase its presence in China in recent years. The company announced plans on July 12 for a new packaging plant for solid dosage pharmaceuticals and sterile products in Hangzhou City, Zhejiang Province, Interfax previously reported.

Sinopharm is China's largest pharmaceutical group, with 16 subsidiaries and a strong nationwide distribution network. The company generated sales revenue of RMB 65 billion ($9.59 billion) in 2009.

- MS