Merck KGaA plots 800 hires, earmarks €130M to boost single-use capacity at site in France

In its ongoing investment push, Merck KGaA will pour 130 million euros ($132 million) into beefing up the ability of its manufacturing arm—MilliporeSigma—to employ single-use assemblies at its facility in Molsheim, France.

It is the largest investment in the 50-year history of the site and will create more than 800 jobs by the end of 2028, the company said.

By the end of 2024, MilliporeSigma plans to begin operations at the new 37,000-square foot clean rooms provided by the investment, with full production levels reached later in the decade. The company also expects a new logistics warehouse and administrative building to be ready by the end of 2024.

Last year, MilliporeSigma revealed a $25 million investment at the Molsheim plant to introduce production of its Mobius single-use consumables, making it the first in Europe to employ the technology, the company said. Its sites in Danvers, Massachusetts, and Wuxi, China, already use Mobius, which aids in the production of highly-potent new drugs which are manufactured in smaller lot sizes.

“In recent years, many biopharmaceutical manufacturers have turned to single-use technologies for their flexibility, cost savings, speed, and reduced contamination risk, leading to double-digit market growth for this segment,” Matthias Heinzel, a member of the board at Merck KGaA, said in a release. “The COVID-19 pandemic has reinforced this trend.”

With a goal to increase its sales from 19.7 billion euros in 2021 to 25 billion euros by 2025, Merck KGaA said it is amid a five-year period of heavy investment—a significant increase on what it spent from 2016 to 2020. A large part of the funding has been earmarked for single-use technologies.

The company has specifically targeted sites in Germany, France, Switzerland, Ireland, China and the U.S. for investment.

Earlier this year, Merck KGaA launched its new Life Sciences Services unit, which consolidated its CDMO and contract testing units, plus other operations, as part of its effort to grow.

This summer, MilliporeSigma revealed a partnership with Lotte of Korea to be the preferred supplier of its biologics business in the U.S. And in June, the company opened a new $65 million high-potency active pharmaceutical ingredient manufacturing site in Verona, Wisconsin.