(Yicai Global) Nov. 10 -- US-based pharmaceutical giant Merck & Co., Inc. [NYSE:MRK] has started bidding for its cervical cancer vaccine, Gardasil. Vaccinations will be available for the women in China by the end of this year.
Merck is actively cooperating with the relevant departments in China in the wholesale process and the bidding in several provinces. Merck has won the bids in five provinces, including Yunnan, Henan, Jiangxi, Hubei and Heilongjiang, as well as the city of Chongqing. The bidding is still in progress in other provinces and municipalities, Beijing Business Today reported on Nov. 10.
Merck also signed an exclusive supply agreement with the Chinese pharmaceutical distributor Chongqing Zhifei Biological Products Co. [SHE:300122] in 2012, in which the latter will be responsible for the distribution and promotion of Gardasil in China. Zhifei Bio has opened appointment for the vaccine.
Gardasil is the second such drug to gain access to patients across China after Cervarix, an HPV vaccine developed by pharmaceutical GlaxoSmithKline [NYSE:GSK]. The main target group of Cervarix is females aged 9 to 25, while Gardasil is eligible for women between the ages 20 and 45.
The bidding price of Gardasil was CNY798 (USD120) for each unit, while the price of Cervarix was CNY580, nearly 40 percent lower.