Sector News

Merck KGaA presses on with 250 million euros investment in China

November 4, 2016
Life sciences

German pharma major Merck KGaA has inaugurated its 170 million euros ($189 million) Nantong pharmaceutical plant in China at the same time as announcing a further 80 million euros investment in a life sciences center nearby.

Merck KGaA is the first multinational company to dedicate a green-field investment to the production of pharmaceuticals on China’s Essential Drug List, something which goes on at the Nantong plant, while the life science center will manufacture high-purity inorganic salts, cell culture media products as well as ready-to-use media.

An initial 80 million euros investment in the Nantong plant was announced in 2013 and has been realized, then the additional 90 million euros represents the next phase of Merck’s pharmaceutical production plans for China to meet forecast increased demand for medicines to be produced at the site.

The first drugs from the plant inaugurated this week are expected to be delivered to patients in the second half of 2017. Along with the investment of around 80 million euros by the Life Science business sector of Merck, this adds up to a total of investment of 250 million euros in its production value chain in China to create better access to health.

These strategic investments further support Merck’s expansion in China, which is expected to become the world’s second-largest pharmaceutical market by 2018. The company is also supporting the goals of the Asian country’s 13th Five Year Plan by investing in technology and developing local talent.

Stefan Oschmann, the company’s chief executive, said: “China is of strategic importance to Merck KGaA as a key driver of our sustainable growth. In line with our long-term commitment to China, Merck KGaA has always been dedicated to localizing global expertise to make a meaningful difference to our patients and life science customers.

“Combining the strengths of our two business sectors Healthcare and Life Science, the Nantong site is a pioneering initiative to foster a comprehensive value chain that will create better access to health, enabling Merck KGaA to support China’s evolving developmental and healthcare priorities.”

Marc Horn, managing director of the biopharma business of Merck KGaA in China, said: “With our new state-of-the-art pharmaceutical production, Merck KGaA is transforming from an import-based company to a full-fledged local industry player in China.

“By dedicating the largest manufacturing plant outside of Europe to the production of pharmaceuticals to address widespread healthcare needs in China, Merck KGaA is connected with China more than ever.

“This is in line with our healthcare vision for 2021 – transforming 25 million patients’ lives in China, for China.”

The Nantong pharmaceutical manufacturing site will focus on the production of Glucophage (metformin), Euthyrox (levothyroxine sodium) and Concor (bisoprolol), Merck KGaA’s leading brands for the treatment of the major chronic diseases diabetes, thyroid disorders and cardiovascular diseases.

Thanks to the latest investment, the facility is expected to accommodate full production capacity of up to 10 billion tablets a year by 2021. By that year, the pharmaceutical manufacturing site, which currently employs 180 people, is expected to have a workforce of more than 580.

Source: The Pharma Letter

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