Merck aims for growth in China with Sinopharm

Big Pharma's new promised land has spawned yet another major enterprise. Merck (NYSE: MRK) is negotiating a partnership with China's Sinopharm Group, aiming to sell its vaccines--and perhaps prescription drugs--in that vast-and-growing market.

The two companies say they're working on a deal to commercialize Merck's human papillomavirus shot and other "mutually selected" vaccines for the Chinese market. Drug sales could follow. Although Merck has its own operations in China--including some 3,000 sales reps, a 90 percent increase since 2007, Reuters reports--this is the drugmaker's first effort to partner with a domestic company.

Like other drugmakers that have found partners in China, Merck considers emerging markets a key part of its growth strategy. "Expanding our business in emerging markets throughout the world is critical to the mission and growth of Merck/MSD and innovative partnerships are a key element of our approach," CEO Richard Clark (photo) says in a statement.

- get the release from Merck
- see the Reuters news

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