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Press Release

As Merck turns 50, the 'small' firm gears up for big changes

Merck Limited
Posted on: 27 Nov 17

German healthcare company Merck's operations in India may not be as big as other pharmaceutical companies, but it is not too small either, says Managing Director Anand Nambiar explaining that it is rightly positioned to adapt to a changing environment. In fact, that was Nambiar's message at a townhall interaction to mark 50 years of Merck's operations in India.

Speaking to BusinessLine on Thursday before the townhall meeting, Nambiar said his key message to employees will be, "as a company Merck is in a much stronger position than it has ever been in." "There are challenges of course, but Merck is in a good spot. If looking at the next five to 10 years given the evolution of the demographics, the evolution of digital technology, that's where Merck's strength is. Merck is little bit small enough to be able to make those quick changes, to be agile and be ready for those big changes."

Popular brands - Merck's combined turnover in the country, including its listed company and four private entities, stands at about ₹2,500 crores. But for a company perceived as being reclusive, its consumer care brands Neurobion, Polybion and Seven Seas, for instance, are virtually household names. These popular brands help Merck in India achieve its 3X3 strategy in consumer healthcare, where the target is to have three brands with more than three per cent marketshare, he said. And plans are on for the pilot launch of Seven Seas Perfect Seven in June, besides another "hush hush" product also in consumer health later this year.

Other segments - With products across healthcare or traditional pharmaceuticals and lifesciences, Merck has a presence in fertility and oncology. But the last innovative cancer product introduced in India was 10 years ago. Will that change? "believe so," says Nambiar, referring to internal discussions in the company involving their breakthrough product Avelumab (to treat Merkel cell carcinoma, a rare and aggressive skin cancer) that received regulatory approval in the United States recently. The product will be launched in the USA this year and discussions are on internally about the right time to register the product and bring it to India, he said, adding that it will take at least two years. The fertility technology segment too, will see a shift from being a drug specific company to being treatment and outcome-oriented, he said. It is a space that needs education and awareness of patients and prescribers, he adds.

As it turns 50, Merck will continue to look for acquisition opportunities, he said, "more so now than ever before in healthcare as well as lifesciences to expand Merck's footprint in India". But the acquired business will have to fit in with Merck's core competency and it should be scalable in other markets, he said. "So the interest of a multinational is, if there are jewels in the country, can those jewels be taken outside as well or is it only a local jewel". That will be a judgement call for a company of Merck's size, he adds, "because Merck doesn't have the deep pockets that some other companies might have so Merck really has to be selective in what it chooses, where it invests".

About Merck - Merck is a leading science and technology company for innovative and top-quality high-tech products in healthcare, life science and performance materials. Around 50,000 employees work to further develop technologies that improve and enhance life – from biopharmaceutical therapies to treat cancer or multiple sclerosis, cutting-edge systems for scientific research and production, to liquid crystals for smartphones and LCD televisions. In 2014, Merck generated sales of € 11.3 billion in 66 countries. Founded in 1668, Merck is the world's oldest pharmaceutical and chemical company. Find details on products here -

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Editor's Details

Merck India
Merck Life Science Private Limited

Last updated on: 27/11/2017

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