Merck KGaA Opens US Biodevelopment Center
German pharmaceuticals and chemicals life sciences group Merck KGaA has opened a BioReliance End-to-End Biodevelopment Center in Burlington, Massachusetts. The center is one of three worldwide supporting the group’s biotech partners in developing their processes from early clinical stage to commercialization. Others are in Martillac, France, and Shanghai, China
Merck said the Massachusetts facility will provide cell line development services, upstream and downstream process development and non-GMP clinical production for drug manufacturers, offering hands-on experience and expert consultation at each stage of the biopharmaceutical development process as well as in manufacturing.
“Biomanufacturing is a growing industry that is increasingly focused on optimized production and high quality. However, the drug development process is long and complex, and requires biotech companies to make significant financial investments,” said Udit Batra, executive board member and CEO, Life Science. Merck’s experience and expertise will help drug manufacturers of all sizes to bring medicines and therapies to the market faster, he said.
With 31 years of process development experience behind it, the Darmstadt-based group said it can deliver a “robust” clinical production processes and clinical material in nine to 12 months. Its global end-to-end team has already executed some 240 large molecule projects ranging in scale from three to 2,000 liters.
Merck also claims to have the industry’s most comprehensive portfolio of products, services and testing for biopharmaceutical manufacturing. To help fund start-ups, it has expanded its Advance Biotech Grant Program that in future will award companies €200,000 in free services and products to address process development challenges. Six beneficiaries will be named each year.
Since the program started in 2015, five grants have been made to companies with promising therapies such as antibody drug conjugates for cancer and monoclonal antibodies for the treatment of fibrotic disease.
In 2017, four promising biotechs in China received grants, Merck said.