At the beginning of August, DAIICHI SANKYO DEUTSCHLAND GmbH is planning to take over most of the sales force for primary-care physicians in Germany used by Merck Pharma GmbH and to integrate them into the existing sales structure. 

The agreement between the German subsidiary of the third-largest Japanese pharmaceutical group and the Darmstadt-based company will affect about 130 employees. The employees of Merck Pharma GmbH will receive individual offers from DAIICHI SANKYO. With this agreement, DAIICHI SANKYO DEUTSCHLAND is counterbalancing the strong trend to eliminate sales positions in the German pharmaceutical market and is significantly expanding its workforce.

The Japanese pharmaceutical group is confident that most of the employees at Merck Pharma GmbH will accept the company's offer after they are approached. "DAIICHI SANKYO is a Japanese company with a long tradition and places a high priority on the well-being of its employees. We are also a rapidly growing company in Germany and Europe, and we will make an attractive offer to the employees of Merck Pharma GmbH," Göddertz said.

For DAIICHI SANKYO, the agreement with Merck represents the fourth major transaction conducted in Germany within a year: In July 2007, the central European production site located in the Bavarian city of Pfaffenhofen was expanded as part of a €25 million project. In February, it extended its partnership with the biotech company Morphosys, located in the city of Martinsried near Munich, to develop cancer-fighting monoclonal antibodies. And in May, DAIICHI SANKYO acquired U3 Pharma, another biotech company in Martinsried, in a closely followed transaction. In addition, the company has announced a takeover offer for Ranbaxy, India's largest pharmaceutical manufacturer, which also has a subsidiary in Germany.