Merck KGaA expects new products to step up big time through 2022

Merck kgaa

Merck KGaA’s got a big birthday coming up--and in honor of the milestone, it’s rolling out some big plans.

The German drugmaker expects to generate sales of €4 billion with new products by 2022, it said Thursday--and it intends to do that by riding both its currently approved and up-and-coming products between 2019--the year after its 350th anniversary--and 2022.

Merck’s Life Science and Performance Materials units will each kick in about €1 billion in sales, the company figures, and products still in the pipeline should fill the gap, generating about €2 billion.

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How does the Darmstadt-based drugmaker expect to reach that mark? Beginning in 2017, it’ll aim to snag one new drug approval or new indication for an existing product each year, it said, zeroing in on the areas of immunology, immuno-oncology and oncology.

To kick things off, the company this year filed for regulatory approval for cladribine tablets as a treatment for multiple sclerosis. An approval there would bolster an MS portfolio anchored by Rebif, a key injectable product for Merck that’s been struggling in the face competition from next-gen pills.

The company is also prepping a regulatory submission for 2016 of immuno-oncology treatment avelumab, a therapy for a form of aggressive skin cancer.

But while the company has its eye on the longer term, it’s not forgetting about the goals it set out to accomplish before 2018, many of which include the acquisition of Sigma Aldrich that it completed last year.

“We are vigorously driving the integration of Sigma-Aldrich forward and expect to even exceed the originally planned synergies since additional top-line synergies are being generated,” CEO Stefan Oschmann said in a statement.

Meanwhile, the company is busy with some other recently laid-out plans, too. In July, it announced it would be breaking ground on a $115 million life science campus in Burlington, MA, about 13 miles from the biopharma R&D hotspot of Cambridge.

It also has blueprints for expanding its presence in Africa, with goals to double its workforce and sales on the continent by 2020.

And that’s all on top of the rebrand it’s still undergoing after unveiling a more lively, colorful presence last year. It figured the futuristic, tech-focused initiative would help it exit the "sea of sameness” it sees in the industry, execs said last October.

- read the release (PDF)

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