Greenfield Pharma Plant Merck Starts Construction of its Second Largest Production Facility in China

Editor: Dominik Stephan

Merck Serono becomes the first and only multinational company in China to dedicate a large scale green-field investment to the production of pharmaceuticals on China’s essential drug list: The pharma company just broke ground for a production facility in Nantong. China is Merck's second largest market.

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Merck Serono Senior Executives and Nantong Government Officials Celebrate the Groundbreaking of the Company's Nantong Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Facility
Merck Serono Senior Executives and Nantong Government Officials Celebrate the Groundbreaking of the Company's Nantong Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Facility
(Picture: Merck)

Nantong/PR China – Merck Serono, the biopharmaceutical division of Merck, broke ground for the construction of its new pharmaceutical manufacturing plant in Nantong, China. The new facility, which will be the Group’s second-largest pharmaceutical manufacturing facility worldwide, will focus on the bulk production and packaging of Glucophage, Concor and Euthyrox, Merck Serono’s brands for the treatment of diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and thyroid disorders, respectively. These medicines are referenced in China’s essential drug list, making Merck Serono the first and so far only multinational company in China to dedicate a large scale green-field investment to the production of drugs on the list, comprising medicines that address public healthcare needs and must be available at all times, speakers stated.

“We have steadfastly aligned our focus and strategy with the Chinese government’s efforts to increase patient access to quality care throughout the country,” said Belén Garijo, President and Chief Executive Officer of Merck Serono. “Today, we are focused on localizing production to better cater to the demands of Chinese doctors and patients. At the same time, we are localizing research and development to further build a differentiated portfolio of medicines in China, aimed at serving patient needs for general as well as specialized care. We are also creating alliances and partnerships with local partners in every part of our operations.”

First Shipment of Drugs to Patients in 2017

The new pharmaceutical manufacturing plant is located in the Nantong Economical Technological Development Area (NETDA), in the Greater Shanghai region (Yangtze River Delta area). Based in NETDA’s BioSpark zone, a high-tech industrial park designed to accommodate life science enterprises, the plant represents an investment of € 80 million and will be Merck’s largest manufacturing facility outside of Europe.

The site will cover a total area of 40,000 square meters, with a possible 20,000 square meters extension. Construction work is scheduled to be completed in 2016, with commercial production starting in 2017. The site is designed to comply with the highest international standards in terms of quality, as well as environment, health and safety. The preservation of the environment is a critical consideration in the facility’s construction, with a maximization of resource efficiency and minimized waste generation in the course of the manufacturing process.

Facility is Designed to Comply with the International Standards

We firmly believe that complying with the highest quality, environment, health and safety standards is a natural commitment to the communities where we operate, as well as a prerequisite to ensuring the availability of high-quality medicines for patients,” said E. Allan Gabor, President and Chief Executive Officer of Merck Serono China. “By building our new facility in the great city of Nantong, we are committing our resources to the clear objective that our drugs be made more readily available for hospitals, doctors and patients in China. This emphasis is part of a greater goal to promote not just better access to medicines, but better access to health for every person in this country. This is a key goal for China, and this is Merck Serono’s commitment.”

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