German drugmaker Merck KGaA has given its pharmaceuticals business in Japan a reshuffle, announcing that, as of April 2006, the Ethicals division of Merck Ltd and the Japanese generic pharmaceuticals subsidiary Merck Hoei Ltd will marry to form the new Tokyo-based group Merck Pharma Ltd.

The company hopes that the move will cement its presence in Japan’s lucrative market, which is currently second only to the USA, as well as exploiting synergies from the previously separate organizations. “By combining our previously separate ethical and generic pharmaceutical businesses into a new pharmaceutical organization, Merck will be able to play a more important role in the Japanese pharmaceutical market,” commented Klaus Diehl, President of Merck Ltd Japan.

The reorganisation will also enable Merck Ltd, which generated sales of 394 million euros last year, to focus exclusively on the business activities of the three chemicals divisions of Merck KGaA, particularly the development, production and marketing of liquid crystals and pigments, the group said.