Bayer inks pledge to J.V. with Russia's Yunona

Bayer is the latest drugmaker to team up with a Russian company. The German-based conglomerate's healthcare division has inked a preliminary agreement with Yunona Holdings, which has government funding to develop a pharmaceuticals cluster in the Sverdlovsk region.

It's unclear as of yet what Bayer plans to contribute there. As InPharm reports, the joint press release leaves the field wide open. The two companies pledge to "cooperate and build effective capacities in the field of development, production, marketing and distribution of pharmaceutical products in Russia."

Big Pharma has been eyeing the Russian market for some time, and for good reason: It's one of the fastest-growing developing countries, and drugmakers are targeting emerging markets to help offset slowing growth in the U.S. and Europe. Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin put a bit of a damper on those plans, however, when he introduced rules that favor the purchasing of domestically made products and encourage joint ventures.

Drugmakers have responded by breaking ground on new facilities and partnering with the locals. Novartis ($NVS) is spending $500 million on new manufacturing capacity. AstraZeneca ($AZ) is building a plant in the Kaluga region and an R&D hub in St. Petersburg as part of a $1.2 billion, 5-year investment in the country. GlaxoSmithKline ($GSK) has teamed up with JSC Binnopharm on vacine productions, while Roche and Pfizer ($PFE) have both teamed up with ChemRar.

- read the InPharm coverage