Sun to co market Merck's Diabetes drugs in India

MSD, the Indian affiliate of US drug maker Merck & today said it had formed an India-specific partnership with Sun Pharmaceutical  under which the Mumbai-based firm will acquire exclusive marketing rights to promote and distribute MSD's diabetes products, sitagliptin and sitagliptin plus metformin, under different brand names in India.

Earlier this month Merck & Suan had set up a joint venture to develop, manufacture and commercialise new combinations and formulations.

Announcing the partnership, K G Ananthakrishnan, managing director, MSD in India said, "MSD is proud to have entered into a strategic, India-specific partnership with Sun Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. The partnership with Sun Pharma is focused on increasing the market access of sitagliptin and sitagliptin plus metformin in India, which is an urgent need, given the high disease burden of type 2 diabetes in India and the role of these drugs in helping to address the same. Both partners complement each other's strengths in this arrangement.

While MSD in India brings the scientific excellence and market success of the compound to the partnership, Sun Pharma will provide its marketing network for drugs in the relevant therapeutic areas across India. This is yet another testimonial to MSD's commitment towards the patients of India and towards addressing high disease burdens of chronic diseases like type 2 Diabetes, while providing broader access of our first in class and best in class drugs in the country."

Talking about Sun Pharma's contribution towards the partnership, Subramanian Kalyanasundaram, CEO, Sun Pharma said, "Sun Pharma is a leader in India across various chronic therapeutic segments including diabetes. We have proven experience in scientific communication to promote products of high therapeutic relevance and benefits to the patients. Sun Pharma enjoys a strong relationship with the physician community such as diabetologists, endocrinologists and consulting physicians treating patients with diabetes across India. Through this partnership, the reach of sitagliptin and sitagliptin plus metformin will be enhanced amongst doctors and patients in India, helping them efficaciously manage the disease."

Sun Pharma, an  integrated, specialty pharmaceutical company manufactures and markets a large basket of pharmaceutical formulations as branded generics as well as generics in India, US and several other markets across the world, through its various group companies Caraco Pharmaceutical Laboratories, Chattem Chemicals and Sun Pharmaceutical Industries Inc, in the US, Alkaloida Chemical Company Exclusive Group Ltd, in Hungary and Israel's Taro Pharmaceutical Industries, in which it acquired a controlling stake in September 2010 after a protracted legal battle in Israeli and US courts to enforce an option agreement first entered into in 2007 with the controlling shareholders of Taro.

In India, the company is a leader in niche therapy areas of psychiatry, neurology, cardiology, diabetology, gastroenterology, orthopedics and ophthalmology.