Merck KGaA Broadens US Life Science Footprint

18.12.2020 - German pharmaceuticals, chemicals and life sciences group Merck is broadening its manufacturing footprint in the US, splitting a planned €40 million capital investment between its production facilities in Danvers, Massachusetts, and Jaffrey, New Hampshire.

Capacity expansions at the two sites that manufacture critical products for customers developing lifesaving therapies including Covid-19 vaccines, as well as providing products and services for biopharmaceutical manufacturing, will significantly increase output by the end of 2021 and during 2022, Merck said. The investments will also create nearly 700 new jobs.

The Darmstadt-based group said the US capacity buildup will complement its Life Science arm’s other new projects announced earlier this year, further enhancing capabilities and capacity in Switzerland and at its German headquarters, as well as in the US states of California and Wisconsin.  Altogether, the business segment has announced capital investments worth more than €350 million for 2020.

The €21 million expansion at Danvers will add 6,000 m2 of space to the existing 11,000 m2 single-use assembly operation. It will also provide the capacity needed to support the manufacturing of products across several portfolios, including Merck’s Mobius single-use consumables.

At Jaffrey, the €18.5 million upgrade planned up to 2022 will add 2,300 m2 to the existing 24,000 m2 facility and include new production lines and equipment to support the manufacturing of filtration devices and membrane products, specifically Durapore-brand filters, Expressfilters and the Viresolve line. The products are used to ensure the sterility of many lifesaving therapies and remove viral contamination for a variety of therapies. 

“The global coronavirus pandemic has significantly increased demand for our single-use and virus filtration technologies, which we are supplying to more than 50 different companies working on Covid-19 vaccine candidates,” said Chris Ross,  interim head, Life Science, at Merck.

Author: Dede Williams, Freelance Journalist