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Merck & Co sets up Brazilian joint venture/Generics Feb 16 2012
Kevin Grogan

Merck & Co's push into the emerging markets is moving on with the formation of a new joint venture with Brazilian pharmaceutical company Supera Farma Laboratorios.

Merck & Co. formed a joint venture with the Brazilian pharmaceutical company Supera Farma Laboratorios S.A. to market, distribute and sell generic products in Brazil.

The JV with Supera, which is co-owned by Brazilian firms Cristalia and Eurofarma, will market new drugs and branded generics from the three partners. Its initial portfolio will include 30 products across a range of therapeutic areas and have its own dedicated sales force.

Kenneth Frazier, chief executive at Merck, which will own 51% of the JV, said the 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". Ogari Pacheco, Cristalia's president, added that the JV is a combination of his company's "creativity, Eurofarma's commercial efficiency and Merck's innovation".

The US major has teamed up with a couple of heavyweight partners, especially Eurofarma which has the largest sales force in the country; it performs about 380,000 sales calls per month.

Merck Establishes Joint Venture with Supera Farma to Commercialize Innovative Pharmaceutical Products and Branded Generics in Brazil

New Brazilian Joint Venture to Combine Local and Global Commercial Expertise

WHITEHOUSE STATION, N.J., Feb. 15, 2011 - Merck (NYSE:MRK), known as MSD outside the United States and Canada, today announced the formation of a new joint venture (JV) with Supera Farma Laboratorios S.A., a Brazilian pharmaceutical company co-owned by Cristalia and Eurofarma. The new JV will market, distribute and sell a portfolio of innovative pharmaceutical and branded generic products from Merck, Cristalia and Eurofarma solely in the Brazilian retail sector.

"Merck is pleased to partner with two of Brazil's leading pharmaceutical companies -- organizations that share our commitment to enhancing health care for the people of Brazil," said Kenneth C. Frazier, chairman and chief executive officer, Merck. "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."

By establishing the JV with Supera, Merck will gain additional local expertise, an expanded portfolio of products and a strong distribution network to facilitate wider access to medicines for the people of Brazil. The initial portfolio of the JV will include approximately 30 products across a range of therapeutic areas. The JV will have its own dedicated sales force separate from Merck, Cristalia and Europharma, but will leverage the parent companies' infrastructures for activities such as sales force training. The parent companies will continue to maintain separate businesses in Brazil.

Ogari Pacheco, president of Cristalia, commented, "This joint venture is a combination of Cristalia's creativity, Eurofarma's commercial efficiency and Merck's innovation."

Maurizio Billi, president of Eurofarma added, "We are sharing learnings and combining the very best of each company, making this joint venture more competitive in the Brazilian market. Partnering with Merck is a strategic move to advance access to innovative pharmaceutical products."

Merck, through a subsidiary, will own 51 percent of the JV, and Cristalia and Eurofarma will collectively own 49. The venture will be managed by a joint board and leadership team consisting of members of senior management from the three companies. Establishment of the JV is subject to satisfying certain agreed upon closing conditions but is scheduled to be completed later in 2012.

About Cristalia Labs Cristalia Labs (Cristalia Produtos Quimicos Farmaceuticos Ltda.), a privately held Brazilian company founded in 1972, produces high quality medicines to address medical needs. Primarily focused on specialty areas such as psychiatry, anesthesia and pain relief, the company has become a healthcare leader across Latin America. Today, in addition to covering all territories within Brazil, Cristalia exports reach approximately 40 countries across Latin America, the Middle East, Asia and Africa.

The company is a strong supporter of the Brazilian scientific community and a large number of universities within the country. The company also develops social responsibility and sustainability programs in the areas of education, the donation of medicines, and the offer of aid and assistance to poor communities.

About Eurofarma Laboratorios Ltda. Established in 1972, Eurofarma ranks among the leading pharmaceutical companies in Brazil. The company operates in virtually all pharmaceutical segments through its Business Units - Prescription Drugs, Generics, Hospital & Procurement, Oncology, Third-Party Services and Pearson (Veterinary). The company counts on the largest medical sales force in the country and performs about 380,000 sales calls per month. In 2010, for the seventh year in a row, the company ranked among the list of best companies to work for published by Exame/ Voce S/A magazine. By 2015, it plans to have a strong international presence by covering 90% of the Latin-American market. The company's most recently developed manufacturing facility in Itapevi, Brazil aims to greatly increase the company's production capacity, making it an important production source for both the Brazilian and international markets.

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