Merck invests €50 million in pharmaceutical packaging building in Darmstadt

Will have the capacity to handle 400 million blisters or 150 million pharmaceutical packs annually

Belen Garijo, Member of the Executive Board of Merck (dressed in navy and white), at the ceremony in Darmstadt

Merck is building a 'flagship' €50 million packaging plant at its pharmaceutical manufacturing site in Darmstadt, Germany.

Construction of the 15,000 m2 facility is expected to be completed by the end of next year, with operations starting by the middle of 2018.

The new 'centre of excellence' will have the capacity to package more than 400 million blisters or 150 million packs annually.

The main Merck brands to be packaged there will be Glucophage, Concor and Euthyrox to meet increasing patient needs in the areas of diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and thyroid disorders.

The packaging centre will incorporate energy-saving technologies, which is part of Merck’s sustainable strategy for all of its manufacturing plants.

'Sustained growth of healthcare needs in the areas of diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and thyroid disorders continues to meet increased patient demand,' said Belén Garijo, Member of the Executive Board of Merck and CEO Healthcare.

'Therefore, we are investing in our manufacturing and supply network across the world to continuously adapt our footprint and capacity while leveraging new technologies to always better serve patients.'

An artist's impression of the new packaging centre in Darmstadt. Copyright: Carpus

Darmstadt is Merck's largest site and centre of excellence for oral and solid dosage forms and the firm will incorporate smart packaging technology in the new building, said Thierry Hulot, Head of Global Manufacturing & Supply at the biopharma business of Merck.

The centre will be designed to comply with international GMP (Good Manufacturing Practices) quality standards.

The cornerstone-laying ceremony was attended by about 100 guests representing local and regional authorities, including the Mayor of the City of Darmstadt, a member from the Regional Administrative Council representing the health authorities, as well as business partners and neighbours.

Merck has committed around €1 billion to invest in Darmstadt until 2020 and this investment is part of this initiative.