German healthcare company Merck has revealed plans to invest €150m to expand the capacity of its Swiss biotech medicines manufacturing site in Aubonne.
Over the 2019-2023 period, this investment will be used for a new building that will produce biologics to be supplied for more than 150 countries in order to cater to increasing demand.
Among other medicines, the production capacity is being boosted for fertility treatment Gonal-f, oncology drug Bavencio and products in clinical development such as M7824 (bintrafusp alfa), a cancer candidate.
Merck Healthcare CEO Belén Garijo said: “This investment reflects our commitment to ensuring that our medicines always meet the highest quality standards and are readily available to patients all over the world whenever they need them.
“It is an expression of our confidence in the future growth of our Healthcare business sector.”
The new building will include the latest technologies for aseptic filling and quality control. Merck is also planning for a design and flexible operations model that will allow an increase in capacity.
In addition, the aseptic filling lines will be fitted with isolator technology to ensure the safety of injectable drugs. The company will build two lines for freeze-dried formulations and liquid formulations, respectively.
Existing infrastructure will be replaced with these lines and new quality control labs. Technological upgrades and increased capacity is estimated to enable the production of up to 27 million vials annually.
The new building is expected to be completed by next year, with operations in the new quality control labs scheduled to be commenced in 2021.
The aseptic filling lines are set to become operational in 2023.
This latest expansion brings Merck’s total investment in Switzerland over the last decade to €800m. The company employs a total of 2,300 people across 11 locations in the country.
Earlier this month, Merck revealed plans to invest €1bn over the next five years in the site at its global headquarters Darmstadt, Germany.