Merck KGaA opens $72M distribution facility at German headquarters

Merck kgaa
Merck KGaA has opened a new distribution center at its headquarters in Darmstadt, Germany. (Merck KGaA)

Merck KGaA has opened a new distribution center as it continues to streamline its manufacturing and build up the production site at its headquarters in Darmstadt, Germany.

The  €63 million ($72.3 million), 15,000 square-meter facility has eight packaging lines and robotized logistics and has the capacity to process more than 210 million boxes of medicines a year. It incorporates new technologies for tracking and tracing medicines to prevent counterfeiting and for recalls, and smart packaging to ensure more flexibility to adapt the production of medicines to patient demand.

The company said in a statement that the facility will not only handle current drugs like Merck’s Glucophage, Concor and Euthyrox, but has capacity for products in its pipeline such as evobrutinib in the area of neurology-immunology and oncology candidate tepotinib.

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“Darmstadt is our prime hub for the manufacturing of medicines and it plays a key role in our plans for future growth. This latest investment in a new state-of-the-art packaging center reflects our commitment to our headquarters …." CEO Stefan Oschmann said in a statement.

The company said the new facility is part of the broader €1 billion investment through 2020 to transform the Darmstadt site into contemporary global headquarters.

It is also part of a remaking of Merck’s manufacturing. Last year, it said it would invest more than $100 million on four sites in Germany, Switzerland and France, but would close sites in Steinheim, Eppelheim, Hohenbrunn and Berlin, all in Germany. Beginning in 2019, it will move operations from those sites to other facilities, a process that is slated to be complete in 2022. The company said there will be a net loss of about 200 jobs. It said the move were needed to streamlines its European production.

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