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April 22, 2024

Merck to invest 300m euros in new bioprocessing center in Korea

PUBLISHED : March 21, 2024 - 17:42

UPDATED : March 21, 2024 - 17:42

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A digital rendering of Merck Life Science’s Bioprocessing Production Center in Daejeon (Merck Life Science)

German pharmaceutical group Merck Life Science said Thursday the company will invest around 300 million euros ($326 million) to build a new bioprocessing complex in South Korea, its largest investment yet in the Asia-Pacific region.

The new investment comes as the company renews its commitment to expanding its production capacities for biotech products in the fast-growing market. It also aims to boost the overall biotech industry in the region, saying the new facility alone will create some 300 new jobs by 2028.

The upcoming Bioprocessing Production Center will be located on a 43,000-square-meter site in Daejeon. It will be equipped with advanced production facilities, a distribution center and an automated warehouse.

Merck said the facility will support biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies in the process development, clinical research and commercial manufacturing of biologics. Biologics are derived from large and complex biological compounds and include products like vaccines, cell and gene therapies, or protein-based therapies, such as monoclonal antibodies. They are one of the fastest-growing class of drugs.

The center will provide essential biotech products such as dry powder cell culture media, process liquids, pre-GMP small-scale manufacturing and sterile sampling systems.

The new facility is set to be completed by early 2026, with plans to start operation the same year.

“The Asia-Pacific region is home to a large number of institutions that conduct leading-edge and innovative research, manufacturing and services in areas such as biotechnology, mRNA and gene therapy,” said Matthias Heinzel, member of the executive board and Merck Life Science CEO.

“Expanding our presence in the region will bring us even closer to our customers in this evolving and dynamic market. Our goal is to foster deep collaboration to increase the speed in bringing new therapies to patients.”

The company added that it will also team up with the Daejeon government to support biotech companies based in the Daedeok Research Complex in the city, as well as expand cooperation with Korean universities.

In May last year, Merck signed a memorandum of understanding with the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy and the Daejeon government to build the new facility. The Korean government also had high hopes for the agreement as it still relies heavily on raw and subsidiary materials for biopharmaceutical drugs.

“Daejeon is home to many competitive biotech companies and their talented researchers. Together with Merck, we expect to build a new value chain for biotech firms here,” said Dajeon Mayor Lee Jang-woo.

Meanwhile, Kolon Global will be responsible for the construction of the new facility. According to a regulatory filing on Tuesday, the contract between Merck Life Science and Kolon Global is worth 176.6 billion won ($132 million).

By Shim Woo-hyun (ws@heraldcorp.com)
The Korea Herald

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