German Merck eyes membrane plant within €2bn investment

Merck KGaA has pledged to double the investment in its Darmstadt, Germany site to support numerous manufacturing, R&D and infrastructure projects.

In 2015, Merck announced plans to invest €1 billion ($1.1 billion) over five-years at Darmstadt, the location of its global headquarters and a major biomanufacturing hub for the Big Pharma firm.

Four years later and the firm says it is doubling down on its investment, spending a further €1 billion until 2025 to support various projects at Darmstadt and its employees, which – along with nearby Weiterstadt and Gernsheim – totals roughly 11,000 employees.

Merck’s site and HQ in Darmstadt, Germany. Image: c/o Merck & Co.

“Back in 2015, Merck had stated that it would invest a total of €1 billion at its global headquarters in the following five-year period. So, all in all, we talk about a €2 billion investment into the site from 2015 until 2025,” spokesperson Friederike Segeberg told this publication.

“The [latest] €1 billion includes investments into new plants, R&D, infrastructure and maintenance, thus the whole Darmstadt site will benefit from this,” he said.

As an example, “Merck is currently holding talks about the possible construction of a new membrane plant in Darmstadt.” Among other things, membranes are used in filters during the production of biopharmaceuticals.

The firm is also planning to construct a Vocational and Advanced Training Center at the site.

“We believe in the tremendous potential of the Darmstadt site,” Kai Beckmann, CEO Performance Materials and Merck Executive Board member responsible for the Darmstadt site added in a statemen.

“There is no other Merck site in the world that has so much expertise combined at one location. With our investment commitment, we are permitting additional growth and are creating employment perspectives for tomorrow and beyond.”

M Labs

In a further expansion for Germany’s Merck, the firm has opened its ninth M Lab Collaboration Center run by its bioprocessing services division.

The €10 million site in Molsheim, France is its first in Europe and follows similar centers in Brazil, China, South Korea, Singapore, Japan, and India.

The M Labs aim to offer biopharma firms the opportunities to work with Merck scientists and test technologies to increase productivity, improve processes and mitigate risks.

“With the rapidly growing biopharma industry in Europe and demand for cost-effective therapies worldwide, customers will benefit from our expertise to develop processes for manufacturing drugs faster, safer and more effectively,” said Udit Batra, member of the Merck Executive Board and CEO, Life Science.

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