Merck, the $42-billion US-based pharma giant, has huge investment plans for India, and the country plays a significant role in its global expansion strategy, said its global head for vaccines vertical Patrick Bergstedt.
“We intent to invest significantly in India,” he said without divulging the amount of investments Merck plan to infuse.
The company is hunting for commercial partnerships in India to manufacture and market drugs as part of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Make in India’ initiative. “To increase our footprint in India, and gain access over the private market, we are hunting for customised partnerships for manufacturing and marketing our products,” he said.
Merck already has partnerships with domestic pharma giants, including Sun Pharma, Lupin and Cipla. “While majority of the vaccine distribution has remained in the hands of the government, we are focusing on increasing access through the private players,” added Bergstedt.
Merck’s global vaccine business stands at $5.8 billion, and is one of the strongest revenue churner.
About 80% of small molecules used in Merck’s medicines in India are now made here, the company claimed. “Also, we have started procuring bulk drugs from India for our global vaccine portfolio such as for HIV vaccine,” he said.
Bergstedt said there is a lot of positivity in the Indian market. “The penetration of vaccines, for instance, of cervical cancer is less than 1%. It shows the opportunity to expand in India is huge.”