Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, Invests More Than € 300 Million in New Life Science Research Center

Advanced Research Center brings together research on key technologies to accelerate biopharmaceutical product development.

25 Apr 2024 | Darmstadt, Germany
  • German Chancellor Olaf Scholz emphasizes significance for Germany as research location at cornerstone laying ceremony
  • Research center to accelerate biopharmaceutical product development
  • Part of company’s € 1.5 billion investment program in Darmstadt by 2025

Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, a leading science and technology company, is investing more than € 300 million in a new research center at its global headquarters in Darmstadt, Germany. In the Advanced Research Center, the Life Science business sector will research solutions for manufacturing antibodies, mRNA applications and additional products required for biotechnological production, among other things. As of the start of 2027, it will provide space for around 550 employees. Today, the company laid the cornerstone for the building together with German Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz. The new building is part of an investment program in the Darmstadt site: Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, will invest around € 1.5 billion in total by 2025.

Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz: “Investments such as those made by Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, here at its headquarters in Darmstadt make tremendous economic, medical and scientific sense. They are a tribute to Germany as a leading pharmaceutical, industrial and research location and reflect the strength of the life sciences. All of this proves that we are on the right track with the changes that we have made with a view to offering the pharmaceutical and biotech industry better conditions. The German Government will continue to tread this path with all due resolve.”

“With this strategic investment, we are strengthening our company’s leading position in key technologies for the development and manufacture of novel medicines,” said Belén Garijo, Chair of the Executive Board and CEO of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany. “As a leading provider of life science technologies, we continue to invest in research and development ‘Made in Germany’. In doing so, we are enabling scientific progress for the benefit of millions of patients and customers around the world.”

The Advanced Research Center brings together research on key technologies of the Life Science business sector of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany. These include raw materials and processes for researching and manufacturing antibodies, recombinant proteins and viral vectors. The company also researches cell culture media and pharmaceutical formulation and purification aids as well as digital reference materials. In addition, the scientists are developing analytical chromatography further. This is a method for separating, identifying and quantifying chemical substances in a sample. Research along the mRNA value chain will also be based in the new center.

With the Advanced Research Center, the company is supporting its customers in Europe and globally when it comes to finding solutions for crucial medical challenges. Antibodies and recombinant proteins are used to treat cancer, autoimmune diseases and infectious diseases, among other things. Viral vectors are predominantly used in gene therapies and vaccines while mRNA is currently being researched mainly for vaccines and cancer treatments. Research on these therapies is developing rapidly and is constantly opening up new application possibilities. In the area of mRNA alone, more than 740 clinical trials are currently in progress globally.

With around 18,000 square meters, the Advanced Research Center enables collaboration across departments in an open, modern work environment. Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, is planning almost carbon-neutral research operations. Energy supply is based on photovoltaics, geothermal energy and air-source heat pumps. The specially designed facades and the green roofs also help to save energy and improve the microclimate. The building is striving for gold certification from the German Sustainable Building Council.

The Darmstadt site is one of the most important centers of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, for research and development in life science technologies. In the next ten years, approximately one fifth of the Life Science business sector’s sales with new products are estimated to come from here. Since 2020, the company has announced investments of more than € 2 billion in the business sector globally. The objective is to expand Life Science’s capacities and capabilities to meet the globally increasing demand for medicines.

 

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About Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany

Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, a leading science and technology company, operates across life science, healthcare and electronics. Around 63,000 employees work to make a positive difference to millions of people’s lives every day by creating more joyful and sustainable ways to live. From providing products and services that accelerate drug development and manufacturing as well as discovering unique ways to treat the most challenging diseases to enabling the intelligence of devices – the company is everywhere. In 2023, Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, generated sales of € 21 billion in 65 countries.

The company holds the global rights to the name and trademark “Merck” internationally. The only exceptions are the United States and Canada, where the business sectors of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, operate as MilliporeSigma in life science, EMD Serono in healthcare and EMD Electronics in electronics. Since its founding in 1668, scientific exploration and responsible entrepreneurship have been key to the company’s technological and scientific advances. To this day, the founding family remains the majority owner of the publicly listed company.

About the Life Science business sector

The Life Science business sector of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, is a leading global provider of products and services for a broad range of customers, including research laboratories, biotech and pharmaceutical companies, diagnostic laboratories and the industrial sector. It offers a broad and differentiated product portfolio as well as CTDMO services (Contract Testing, Development and Manufacturing Organization) ranging from process development to commercialization. In 2023, the Life Science business sector of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, generated sales of € 9.3 billion.

Investments at the Darmstadt site

Darmstadt has been the headquarters of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, for 355 years. The company plans to invest a total of around € 1.5 billion here by 2025. In recent years, it has announced or implemented the following construction projects, among others:

· € 300 million: Life Science Advanced Research Center

· € 200 million: Translational Science Center, a new research center for the Healthcare business sector

· € 160 million: Healthcare's Launch and Technology Center, designed to help make new and urgently needed drugs available more quickly

· € 140 million: Production facility for membranes for aseptic filters

· € 70 million: New education and training center

· € 24 million: GMP-compliant manufacturing plant for mRNA active ingredients

· € 12 million: 4th purification stage as part of the central wastewater treatment, which further increases the plant's current purification performance of already up to 98%

· € 10.6 million: Fitness and health center for employees

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