US-based Merck has created a joint venture with Brazilian pharmaceutical company Supera Farma Laboratorios as it looks to enter further emerging markets.

The new JV will market, distribute and sell a portfolio of branded generic products from Merck, as well as Cristália and Eurofarma, the two companies who co-own Supera Farma.

Merck chairman and CEO Kenneth C. Frazier said the company was pleased to enter the Brazilian market and partner with both Cristália and Eurofarma.

“This venture is an important step forward in our strategy to grow our business in key markets and improve global access to our medicines and vaccines,” said Frazier.

Merck will use the JV to gain additional local expertise and a strong distribution network within the country as the company looks to further move into the Brazilian market, considered one of the key emerging markets.

Initially, the JV will boast a portfolio of approximately 30 products across a range of therapeutic areas and will have its own dedicated sales force, although Cristália and Eurofarma are expected to perform sales force training to assist in the transition.

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Merck will own 51% of the venture through a subsidiary, whilst Cristália and Eurofarma will collectively hold the remaining 49%. A joint board, consisting of senior management from all three companies, will manage the company.

Closing conditions are yet to be agreed upon, but the company is expected to be established later in 2012.