Merck KGaA invests $55M in packaging plant for Glucophage, other key drugs

Merck KGaA’s Glucophage, Concor and Euthyrox are three of its key products and the German drugmaker devotes a lot of resources to them, like a new plant in China to produce them for that market. Now Merck will spend more than $55 million on a packaging plant with those drugs in mind.

The drugmaker said today it will build a €50 million “flagship” pharma packaging facility at its Darmstadt headquarters site. Construction of the 15,000-square-meter (161,460-square-foot) facility is slated to begin by the end of the year and be up and running by mid-2018. It will be staffed by the 220 people who already work at the site in packaging and logistics, a spokesperson said in an email. 

The facility, which Merck is calling a “new center of excellence,” will have the capacity to package more than 400 million blisters or 150 million packs annually. It will incorporate energy-saving technologies, something it has focused on in other new facilities.

“Sustained growth of healthcare needs in the areas of diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and thyroid disorders continues to meet increased patient demand,” Merck Healthcare CEO Belén Garijo said in a statement. “Therefore, we are investing in our manufacturing and supply network across the world to continuously adapt our footprint and capacity while leveraging new technologies to always better serve patients.”

One of those investments is the €80 million ($107.67 million) plant it is building in Shanghai which will be its second largest in the world behind its site in Darmstadt. Merck has said it will focus on production of diabetes drug Glucophage (metformin), heart drug Concor and thyroid treatment Euthyrox, although other products will also be made there. That facility will be about 40,000 square meters and have room for a 20,000-square-meter expansion. A spokesman today said the company expects to the new plant to officially open in November and start commercial production in Q1 2017.

As it looks toward future products, Merck KGaA is also building a new a $115 million life science campus in Burlington, MA, outside of the biotech hub of Cambridge.

- here’s the release

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