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Merck Serono Breaks Ground On $105 Million Plant; Will Be The Company's Second Largest Manufacturing Facility Worldwide


8/28/2014 6:02:33 AM

Merck Serono Breaks Ground On $105 Million Plant; Will Be The Company's Second Largest Manufacturing Facility Worldwide Merck Serono Breaks Ground On $105 Million Plant; Will Be The Company's Second Largest Manufacturing Facility Worldwide

August 28, 2014

By Jessica Wilson, BioSpace.com Breaking News Staff

Merck Serono, the biopharmaceutical division of Germany’s Merck KGaA , has broken ground on a $105 million plant in Nantong, China, where the company will perform bulk production and packaging of its Glucophage (metformin) diabetes products, the beta blocker Concor (bisoprolol) and the thyroid treatment Euthyrox (levothyroxine). When completed, the plant will be Merck's largest manufacturing facility outside of Europe, and its second largest in the world.

The construction has made headlines because it marks a sea change in pharmaceutical manufacturing. This plant will make Merck the only multinational in China to dedicate a large-scale investment to production of drugs on China’s “Essential Medicines List,” which spells out medicines that must be available to the public in that country at all times. The World Health Organization, which created the concept of the list, states that, “The Essential Medicines List provides an internationally recognizable set of selected medicines to help countries choose how to treat their priority health needs.”

“We have steadfastly aligned our focus and strategy with the Chinese government's efforts to increase patient access to quality care throughout the country,” said Belén Garijo, President and Chief Executive Officer of Merck Serono. “Today, we are focused on localizing production to better cater to the demands of Chinese doctors and patients. At the same time, we are localizing research and development to further build a differentiated portfolio of medicines in China, aimed at serving patient needs for general as well as specialized care. We are also creating alliances and partnerships with local partners in every part of our operations.”
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The Nantong Economical Technological Development Area (NETDA), in the Greater Shanghai region (Yangtze River Delta area) will host the 40,000-square-meters plant, which could grow to 60,000 square feet if deemed necessary by the company. Merck Serono plans to finish construction of the site in 2016, with commercial production of the drugs starting in 2017.

E. Allan Gabor, President and Chief Executive Officer of Merck Serono China, emphasized the unique goal of this facility, stating that, “By building our new facility in the great city of Nantong, we are committing our resources to the clear objective that our drugs be made more readily available for hospitals, doctors and patients in China. This emphasis is part of a greater goal to promote not just better access to medicines, but better access to health for every person in this country. This is a key goal for China, and this is Merck Serono's commitment.”


Read at BioSpace.com


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