Merck’s Clark on lookout to acquire smaller drug maker

Merck CEO Richard Clark said he is interested in buying a smaller drug maker whose products could boost revenue over the next few years as Merck struggles with declining sales of its Zocor cholesterol fighter, Reuters reports.
"We are interested in any company that would be aligned with our research capabilities and that would give us top-line growth over the next few years," Clark told Reuters in an interview.
Clark said the company would continue to license drugs from biotech companies but that an outright acquisition of a drug maker might offer particular advantages.
"Targeted acquisitions have always been a part of Merck's strategy. I may be a little more aggressive now in stating it," Clark said, adding he is not interested in a merger with another large drug maker--a continuation of Merck's longstanding strategy.
Merck unveiled a major restructuring, under which it plans to cut 7,000 jobs, or 11% of its global work force, and will close or sell five of its 31 manufacturing plants. Merck, which eliminated 825 jobs worldwide last month, said the latest job cuts will take place by the end of 2008, about half of them in the U.S.

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