Merck KGaA selling manufacturing site, allergy drugs to Dermapharm

It's out with the old and in with the new for Merck KGaA. The German drugmaker is selling a manufacturing site and its Allergopharma allergy drug business as it focuses on new specialty drugs.

The sale comes just three years after Merck opened a new manufacturing facility for an Asia expansion of its allergy drug business. Merck is selling the site and portfolio of drugs to German compatriot Dermapharm, which focuses on generic allergy medications. Terms of the deal, which is slated to close in the second quarter, were not disclosed, but Merck said Allergopharma had 2018 sales of about €88 million. 

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The business includes a site in Reinbek, Germany, near Hamburg and the portfolio of therapeutic and diagnostic products Merck says treats type 1 allergies like hay fever. It markets the products in Europe and Asia. 

The deal will not include Merck’s adrenaline autoinjector development project for the treatment of anaphylaxis. Merck said the deal is in line with its moves to focus on “difficult-to-treat diseases.”

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Merck in 2017 opened new Allergopharma manufacturing plant at the Reinbek site. The €42 million ($44.4 million), 6,000-square-meter (64,583-square-foot) facility was built at the current Allergopharma complex in Reinbek for the business expansion into China. At the time, Merck said the Reinbek site had about 500 employees. 

Grünwald-based Dermapharm sells off-patent branded medicines for selected markets in Germany. Its primary production site is in Brehna near Leipzig. The company says it has more than 900 marketing authorizations for about 250 active ingredients that are commercialized either as medicines, food supplements or supplements to balanced diets.