Merck (NYSE:MRK) hasn't done a bad job fighting the patent cliff in recent years. When it comes to developing generic biologic drugs, or biosimilars, the company finds itself in a much less envious position. Some of the problem can to be owed to the fact that Merck didn't quite know where to start. It seemed to be forging ahead without a clear plan. The company established a subsidiary called Merck BioVentures to focus on biosimilar development only to absorb it back into larger operations. That forced high profile hires such as Mike Kamarck to leave the company, led to the cancellation of at least one therapy, and left shareholders questioning what the heck Merck was doing.

Before you write off Merck's biosimilar ambitions, you should know of a last-ditch effort to right the ship. A partnership announced earlier this year with Samsung Bioepis, a joint venture between Samsung and Biogen Idec (NASDAQ:BIIB), aims to resuscitate internal goals. Fool contributor Maxx Chatsko explains the checkered past, the new beginning, and what it could mean for the future of the biosimilar development at the company.

Fool contributor Maxx Chatsko has no position in any stocks mentioned. Check out his personal portfolio, his CAPS page, or follow him on Twitter @BlacknGoldFool to keep up with his writing on energy, bioprocessing, and biotechnology.

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