Merck to invest €40m in Allergopharma production facility

Aims to expand production to serve new markets such as China

Germany-based Merck has started construction of a new €40m production facility for its Allergopharma unit in Reinbek near Hamburg, Germany.

The new facility, will be used, among other things, to expand production to serve new markets such as China.

Products for the diagnosis and treatment of type 1 allergies such as hay fever or allergic asthma are to be manufactured under ultrapure, sterile conditions in the two-storey building on the existing Allergopharma site. Completion of the building is scheduled for 2016.'We want to fully exploit the potential of our business, whether in emerging markets or in rapidly growing and highly promising areas such as the global allergy market,' said Stefan Oschmann, Merck Executive Board member with responsibility for Pharmaceuticals, including the Allergopharma unit. 'By offering a highly competitive product range, we want to continue to tap the global allergy market.'

The new building will cover an area of more than 6,000m2 and contain cleanrooms for production, as well as plant engineering technology, and offer space for further laboratory use as well as a visitors' foyer. Initially, around 40 people will work in the new building.'With this investment, which is the largest in the history of Allergopharma, Merck is setting an important milestone to expand the Allergy business internationally and to secure the future of the Reinbek site,' said Uta Kemmerich-Keil, CEO of Allergopharma.

We want to fully exploit the potential of our business, whether in emerging markets or in rapidly growing and highly promising areas such as the global allergy market

Merck has been the largest shareholder in Allergopharma since it was established more than 40 years ago, and in December 2012 acquired the outstanding shares in the immunotherapy (SIT) specialist.

The firm, which employs more than 450 people in Reinbek, including 60 in research, was fully integrated into the Merck Group to form the Allergy business unit earlier this year.

Merck says the market for allergy therapies (excluding symptomatic treatments) is showing strong global growth, driven by an increasing number of people with allergies, and by expanding use of specific immunotherapy in many emerging markets. Global growth is estimated to be between 5–10% each year.

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