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MSD set to expand India presence

MSD India, the India subsidiary of the $29 billion US-based pharmaceuticals giant Merck and Co., is planning to step up its India presence.

business Updated: Aug 09, 2009 21:59 IST
Suprotip Ghosh

MSD India, the India subsidiary of the $29 billion US-based pharmaceuticals giant Merck and Co., is planning to step up its India presence.

The company is evaluating joint-ventures and possible acquisitions, and will step up launches of its own patented drugs in India to four-a-year from the present two.

“We would launch one drug from our international portfolio in India every three months henceforth,” Naveen A Rao, managing director, MSD India told Hindustan Times.

MSD India will launch an osteoporosis drug in October this year, said Sanjiv Navangul, sales and marketing director, MSD. Globally, sales for osteoporosis drugs grew 7.0 per cent year-on-year from 2004 to $ 9.6 billion (Rs 45,878 crore)in 2008.

In India, less than one per cent of osteoporosis patients actually are undergoing therapy in what can be a debilitating disease in women, creating a large opportunity, said Navangul.

The company, which started its operations in India in 2005, has launched three drugs in the last year— Januvia, to treat diabetes, Gardasil, a vaccine for cervical cancer and its blockbuster drug Zocor, used to treat dislipidemia.

The company’s business development teams are also evaluating joint-ventures and possible acquisitions, Rao said, though there were no announcements.

India’s pharmaceutical companies have seen a spate of acquisitions in recent months, including Sanofi Aventis’ recent $784 million (Rs 3,746 crore) deal for a controlling stake in Shantha Biotech, one of India’s largest vaccine manufacturers.

MSD India has achieved its financial targets till 2010, Rao said. Januvia, a medicine to treat type-II diabetes, has achieved 3.5 per cent market share within a year of its launch, company officials said.