Merck & Co's push into the emerging markets is moving on with the formation of a new joint venture with Brazilian pharmaceutical company Supera Farma Laboratorios.

The JV with Supera, which is co-owned by Brazilian firms Cristalia and Eurofarma, will market new drugs and branded generics from the three partners. Its initial portfolio will include 30 products across a range of therapeutic areas and have its own dedicated sales force.

Kenneth Frazier, chief executive at Merck, which will own 51% of the JV, said the 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". Ogari Pacheco, Cristalia's president, added that the JV is a combination of his company's "creativity, Eurofarma’s commercial efficiency and Merck’s innovation".

The US major has teamed up with a couple of heavyweight partners, especially Eurofarma which has the largest sales force in the country; it performs about 380,000 sales calls per month.