Merck (NYSE:MRK) and pharmaceutical-services organization Parexel International (NASDAQ:PRXL) have teamed up to develop and market biosimilars, molecularly similar versions of existing biopharmaceutical products that mimic proteins naturally present in the body.

Unlike the chemical genetic drugs they mimic, biosimilars are vastly more complex, and often require more extensive studies for approval.

Under the terms of the deal, Parexel will provide Merck’s BioVentures with strategic access to a broad range of regulatory strategy and clinical development planning capabilities for development of certain broad classes of biosimilars across various therapeutic areas.

The partnership also comes with the establishment of a dedicated Merck BioVentures unit within the Parexel organization. Further details were not disclosed.

President of the Merck unit, Michael Kamarck, said the agreement teams Merck with an industry leader that has the expertise and resources to conduct clinical development, allowing timely delivery of its portfolio of products to the marketplace.