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Germany’s Merck Wins US Contract for Test Membranes

03.01.2022 - The Life Science business segment of Germany’s Merck has won a €121 million US government contract to build a new plant for its “Hi-Flow" Plus lateral flow membranes used in rapid diagnostic test kits, including those for Covid-19.

Output of the new facility, to be built over a three-year period at Merck ’s US site in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, will support global manufacturers of in-vitro diagnostic (IVD) tests and secure local supply of products critical for pandemic preparedness. At the same time, the German group said the move supports its strategy to add physical capacity and expand its regional Life Science network to enable further growth of key portfolios.

Due to the product’s “consistent quality and optimized properties”, Merck said its lateral flow membranes enable reproducible results in rapid tests not only for Covid-19, but also HIV, influenza, malaria and other infectious diseases. They are also used in women’s health application as well as in biomarker detection, drug testing, food safety and animal health.

In response to continuously increasing demand and with the intent of positioning itself as an important supplier of critical raw materials for the diagnostic market in preparation for new regulations, the Darmstadt-based group recently completed a second membrane casting line at Cork, Ireland. The expansion widens its range of other critical reagents such as antibodies, beads, blockers or buffers that are needed to produce the test kits.

Over the past year, Merck has stepped up investment in expanding capacity for its Mobius-brand single-use assemblies in both the US and France and additionally increased output capability for the cell culture media, in particular in the US and the UK. The key player in chemicals, pharmaceuticals and life sciences said it is currently pursuing several expansion projects across its manufacturing and distribution global network.

Author: Dede Williams, Freelance Journalist

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