Pharma giant Merck said it will spend $41 million at its Merck Serono facility in Bari, Italy to build a new injectables production line for the aseptic filling of biotech drugs.
The addition is expected to be operating by 2022 and will feature a highly automated isolator for filling biotech medicines focused in the areas of multiple sclerosis, fertility and endocrinology. The addition will have the capacity of producing 14 million units per year, the company said.
“This investment underpins the importance of the Modugno-Bari production site for our growing health care business”, Merck CEO Stefan Oschmann, said in a statement. “It will help us to secure the supply of medicines that improve people’s lives around the world.”
Three years ago, the company spent $59 million at the site for a fully automated production line under isolator and automated warehouse. The facility, which was established in 1992, currently employs 225 people and specializes in fill-and-finish production of the biotech medicines.
Many drugmakers have been adding to their biologics capacity as more of the drugs they are developing are large molecule, injectables. Following the approval this year of two important large molecule drugs Dupixent and Kevzara, Sanofi for example, has said it will invest as much as $2 billion on its biologics manufacturing network over the next several years.