Explosive Chinese market inspires new Merck pact on personalized meds

With the Chinese pharma market undergoing explosive growth, Merck has inked a new research deal with a leading genomics research institute in the country that will help the pharma giant tap into what may soon emerge as one of its biggest market opportunities.

Shenzhen-based BGI plans to collaborate with Merck on new drugs, adding its sequencing and bioinformatics capabilities with Merck's expertise on drug development to identify a new generation of personalized therapies.

"Genomic science could bring personalized medicine in the future, designed to tackle the various problems people face based on their genetic differences," says Yin Ye, vice president of the BGI's Research and Cooperation Department. "This is the future trend of the medical industry." Ye adds that the genetic differences between Asians and Europeans will lead to a tailored set of therapeutics unique to each group.

"We see the China market continuing to grow strongly," says Michel Vounatsos, the chief of Merck's China ops, in a separate interview with Reuters. The market could expand by 25 percent this year, putting it on track to become one of Merck's top five markets in a decade.

- get the report from the People's Daily
- here's the interview from Reuters