Merck KGaA wants to optimize “very complex” manufacturing process with new biotechnology center

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As pharmaceutical manufacturing becomes more and more complex, Merck KGaA is keen to increase its capabilities for the development of clinical trial compounds.

The German life sciences company took it one step further this week with the completion of its new biotech development center in Corsier-sur-Vevey, Switzerland. The 250 million euro ($ 296 million) business is expected to be fully operational in 2023.

The center is located near Merck’s current manufacturing site in the Swiss city and will bring together around 250 employees from different sites. The center will place a strong emphasis on the development and optimization of manufacturing processes, said Jonathan Souquet, global head of biotechnology process science at Merck and director of operations at the center, in an email to Fierce Biotech.

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Merck’s goal for the new facility will be to rapidly develop compounds for clinical trials while meeting Merck’s quality and quantity standards, Souquet said. This is essential for the overall drug development process, as the production of increasingly sophisticated compounds in large quantities for the clinic is a “very complex” process which the center aims to make more efficient.

Souquet said the center will also serve drugs already on the market through improvements to manufacturing processes with new technologies, such as continuous manufacturing. Open workspaces for collaboration and innovation will also be part of the center.

Merck’s priority areas of R&D will align with the activity of the new center, including oncology, immuno-oncology and immunology.

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“Compared to the current situation, the Merck Biotech Development Center will provide a significant technological upgrade combined with the human power of co-locating our world-class biotechnology science and engineering experts on a single site, in order to effectively meet our most pressing scientific challenges. in the area of ​​biotechnological processes, formulation and analytical development, ”said Souquet.

Merck wants to attract more experts to the center, which is one of the main reasons why Switzerland was chosen as a location. Merck already has significant development activities in this central European country, including eight established sites. The company believes the Lake Geneva region will also provide a highly skilled workforce, Souquet said. Without forgetting a favorable tax environment.

The new resources added in Switzerland follow improvements to Merck’s R&D operations in China in 2019 and a commitment of $ 70 million for the expansion of its Massachusetts plant.


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