Merck ups single-use product assembly with $30m expansion in France

The investment in Molsheim will add 1,700 sqm of ISO Class 7 or ISO Class 5 cleanrooms, using modular building design and existing infrastructure to allow future expansions without any disruptions

Merck has announced it will add a single-use assembly production unit at its Life Science Center in Molsheim, France.

With the €25 million ($30m) investment, the company is accelerating its European expansion plans for this key technology, which is used for the production of COVID-19 vaccines and other lifesaving therapies. Molsheim will be the first site in Europe where Merck manufactures the product. Further production sites are located in Danvers, Massachusetts, USA, and Wuxi, China.

"The pandemic has confronted the world with inconceivable challenges. Merck's science and technology efforts have resulted in significant contributions since the outset of COVID-19. Our new European production unit will increase capacity of the urgently needed supply of single-use assemblies to vaccine and therapeutic manufacturers worldwide. Today's announcement of our expansion in Europe speaks of Merck's global commitment during and beyond this pandemic," said Belén Garijo, Vice Chair of the Executive Board and deputy CEO of Merck.

The new unit will produce Mobius single-use assemblies, a key offering that is part of Merck's Mobius MyWay programme

The investment in Molsheim will add more than 350 new jobs in total along with 1,700 sqm of ISO Class 7 or ISO Class 5 cleanrooms, using modular building design and existing infrastructure to allow future expansions without any disruptions. The new unit will produce Mobius single-use assemblies, a key offering that is part of Merck's Mobius MyWay programme.

It is planned to be operational by the end of 2021.

With more than 1,700 employees of 32 different nationalities, and producing more than 10,000 products, the Molsheim hub is Merck's third-largest site globally. It supplies the world market, exporting more than 85% of its production. It hosts three production units dedicated to the manufacture and assembly of products and solutions for pharmaceutical manufacturing processes and applied solutions products for analysis in clinical and industrial environments and water purification systems.

"In recent years, many biopharmaceutical manufacturers have turned to single-use technologies for their flexibility, cost savings, speed and reduced risk, leading to double-digit market growth for this segment. The coronavirus pandemic has accelerated this trend, with most programmes using single-use production templates," said Chris Ross, interim sector head of Life Science, at Merck. "Our Molsheim site has been a global centre of excellence for BioMonitoring and water purification activities for many years. With this new single-use production unit, we will add critical capabilities to meet our customers' needs, while creating new jobs for our community."

Recently, Merck announced expansion projects in its Life Science business sector in Darmstadt, Germany; Cork, Ireland; Buchs, Switzerland; Carlsbad, California, US; Madison, Wisconsin, US; Jaffrey, New Hampshire, US; and Danvers, Massachusetts, US. At the latter site, Merck is currently working to double the local single-use production capacity by the end of 2021.

These expansions are part of an ambitious, multi-year programme to increase the industrial capacity and capabilities of Merck's Life Science business sector to support growing global demand for lifesaving medications and to make significant contributions to public health.

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