Merck KGaA Plans New Pharma Manufacturing Plant in China

Merck KGaA reiterated its commitment to investments in the Chinese market with the executive board of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, meeting this week met in Shanghai, a month before the groundbreaking of its new pharmaceutical plant in Nantong, which from 2017 will be the company’s second-largest pharmaceutical manufacturing facility globally.

Merck KGaA currently employs more than 2,000 people at more than 40 sites in China, which includes its pharmaceutical operations as well as the chemical operations of the company. In total, Merck KGaA has committed more than EUR 100 million ($135 million) to investments in China over that past three years.

“China is of strategic importance to us,” said Karl-Ludwig Kley, chairman of the executive board of Merck KGaA. “Together with government officials, customers, partners, and our highly motivated local colleagues, we will explore ways to further address critical health care needs of the Chinese population–both with our high-quality drugs and our life science tools for biopharmaceutical R&D.”

Next month, groundbreaking is planned for Merck KGaA's new EUR 80 million ($180 million) pharmaceutical manufacturing plant in the Nantong Economical Technological Development Area (NETDA), in the Greater Shanghai region (Yangtze River Delta area). Completion of the facility, which will focus on bulk production and packaging of Glucophage, Concor and Euthyrox, is scheduled for 2016, with commercial production starting in 2017. The products respectively for the treatment of diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and thyroid disorders are referenced in China's Essential Drug List (EDL). Merck KGaA says it is the first and multinational company in China to dedicate a large scale green-field investment toward the production of drugs on the EDL, which consists of list medicines that satisfy public healthcare needs and must be made available at all times.

In addition to investments in drug production, Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, has also expanded its services for biopharmaceutical research and development customers. Recent investments by the the company's life science tools business include the Biopharmaceutical Technical and Training Center in Zhangjiang Hi-Tech Park, Shanghai. This center provides support, training, and validation services to biopharmaceuticals customers with operations in China. The facility enables customers to investigate, explore and optimize their upstream and downstream processes as well as environmental monitoring processes. In Beijing, where the company's biopharmaceutical divisions' Chinese headquarters are located, Merck KGaA also runs a research center focused on biomarker research, including pharmacogenomics and bioanalytics, which is part of the biopharmaceuticals division's stratified medicine approach. In addition to these invvestments, Merck KGaA has collaborations with academic and medical institutions in China as well as local companies. The latest collaboration agreement with a Chinese company, announced in November 2013, is a second co-development and commercialization agreement with BeiGene, which will further strengthen the companies' collaboration in oncology.

Source: Merck KGaA

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