Merck's New Product Development and Launch Strategy for Januvia

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This case study was compiled from published sources, and is intended to be used as a basis for class discussion. It is not intended to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of a management situation. Nor is it a primary information source.

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Case Details:


Case Code : MKTG176 For delivery in electronic format: Rs. 400;
For delivery through courier (within India): Rs. 400 + Shipping & Handling Charges extra


Marketing Management/ Product management,
New Product Development, Launch Strategy
Case Length : 19 Pages
Period : 1999-2007
Pub Date : 2007
Teaching Note : Not Available
Organization : Merck & Co., Inc.
Industry : Pharmaceutical
Countries : Europe, USA


This case is about how Merck & Co, Inc. (Merck) successfully developed and launched Januvia, its drug for Type 2 diabetes. Merck was in urgent need of a new blockbuster drug as it had been reeling under the numerous product liability lawsuits related to its pain relief drug Vioxx, the expiry of its blockbuster cholesterol drug, Zocor, and the imminent expiry of three more blockbuster drugs. The success of Januvia in the market was significant in the sense that if Merck had adopted the traditional drug development timeline, the drug would not have reached the market before 2010. Merck was a late starter and had joined the race for the new class of diabetic drug (DPP-4 inhibitors) almost five years after the pharmaceutical giant Novartis had initiated its own research and development efforts.

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However, Merck managed to reach the market first. This was done by shaving off time from the traditional drug development timeline by conducting some phases of its clinical trials in parallel rather than sequentially. Even in the launch of Januvia, Merck showed a lot of urgency and was able to take the brand to the market almost immediately after gaining approval for marketing the drug.

As part of its new commercial model (that moved away from the traditional commercial model in the pharmaceutical industry), Merck focused on more targeted communication to doctors through its reps, e-detailing and video detailing. It made extensive use of new media such as the Internet. Experts hailed Merck's marketing acumen and said that more companies were expected to follow a similar model in the future.


Appreciate the issues, challenges and opportunities in new product development, particularly in the pharmaceutical industry

Understand how Merck successfully launched Januvia using a new commercial model as part of its new corporate strategy

Appreciate the importance of another 'P', 'Pace', in the marketing mix in addition to the 4Ps (product, price, place and promotion)


  Page No.
It's All About Speed 1
Background Note 3
Merck Joins Race for Diabetes Drug 4
Merck Gains Momentum 5
Merck Wins the Race 6
Launching Januvia 7
A Strong Launch 10
Merck Extends Its Lead 11
Some Criticisms 12
Outlook 13
Exhibits 14


Merck, Januvia, New product development, Launch strategy, Commercial model, New media, Satellite symposia, Novartis, Galvus, Pharmaceutical , e-detailing, Video detailing, Key opinion leader, Vioxx, Sales force optimization, Commercialization strategy, Janumet, Pace, Direct-to-consumer advertising, Corporate strategy, Product Management, Research and Development

It's All About Speed - Next Page>>


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