Lotte taps MilliporeSigma to chip in on build-out of former Bristol Myers plant

Korea’s Lotte Group, whose biologic drugmaking ambitions will take shape at a former Bristol Myers Squibb plant in New York, is calling on Merck KGaA’s North American subsidiary for an assist.

Lotte and MilliporeSigma have inked a memorandum of understanding to partner on the build out of Lotte’s U.S. biologics business, the companies said this week. The non-binding deal will see MilliporeSigma become a preferred supplier to Lotte, offering up technical consulting, training and more.

Specifically, the companies plan to team up on the design of Lotte’s facility in East Syracuse, New York, as well as workforce training on process development and testing, MilliporeSigma said. Additionally, MilliporeSigma will be on tap to provide manufacturing hardware, consumables and technical support to Lotte.

The companies are keeping mum on the financial components of the deal. 

Merck KGaA’s life science arm, which goes by the name MilliporeSigma in the U.S. and Canada, boasts a workforce of more than 26,000 employees and operates more than 55 total manufacturing and testing sites worldwide. Merck KGaA has stakes in healthcare, life science and electronics.

Lotte, meanwhile, is Korea’s fifth-largest conglomerate, with hands in the food and beverage, retail, chemical and hotel and service sectors. In May, Lotte announced it was making a foray into the biologics contract manufacturing business, laying out $160 million for a former BMS plant in New York.

As part of the deal with BMS, Lotte will continue to produce biologics for the Big Pharma as part of a “newly-established CDMO relationship,” the companies said earlier this year.

On its website, BMS says its Syracuse facility cranks out four commercial biologics: Opdivo, Yervoy, Nulojix and Empliciti. Around 420 employees work at the site and will be joining Lotte under the new structure.