Merck KGaA’s Oschmann Sees US as New Emerging Market - (Bloomberg via NewsPoints Desk)

  • Merck KGaA head of pharmaceuticals Stefan Oschmann said the company is refocusing its expansion efforts on the US market, noting that “for us, the US is an emerging market. We have huge growth potential in the US,” Bloomberg reported.
  • The company is focusing on one of the world’s most profitable drug markets as sales of its best-selling medicines slow and as a late-stage drug pipeline dries up, with only Erbitux approved since 2003 and its next market candidate not expected to be considered by regulators until 2016.
  • The German company’s growth in North America was curtailed when its US subsidiary, Merck & Co. was expropriated during World War I, and while the two pharmaceutical companies now aren’t related, the German drugmaker is relying on Oschmann, who formerly was president of emerging markets at Merck & Co., to revamp its drug development programs.
  • Oschmann said Merck plans to beef up its early-stage pipeline through licensing and research alliances and is looking for bolt-on acquisitions while reviewing the portfolio.
  • The pipeline was “skewed” about two and a half years ago, with many “high-risk” programs in the third and final stage of development, requiring big investments, Oschmann said, adding that the company hadn’t spent as much on earlier stages of development nor sought licenses for many other drugs.
  • “This is what we wanted to change,” he said, adding that “being successful in the US means that we have to introduce new products.”

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