Merck & Co's Japanese headquarters

US-based pharmaceutical major Merck & Co is planning to establish a research and development headquarters in Beijing, China, spearheading a five-year investment into research in China worth approximately $1.5bn.

The facility, to be located in the city’s Wangjing Park, will employ 600 staff and consist of 47,000m² of office and laboratory space, with the first phase of construction scheduled to complete by 2014.

The centre will focus on new drug discovery, translational research, clinical development, regulatory affairs and external scientific research programmes.

The fields of research at the centre will include cardiovascular disease and diabetes, conditions that are becoming increasingly prevalent in China.

Merck Research Laboratories president Peter Kim said, "By strategically locating in China, we are able to complement our existing R&D capabilities, and facilitate new collaborations with scientists in the regions and across emerging markets."

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By GlobalData

Merck hopes to build on its strong presence in China, with the company’s commercial headquarters being based in Shanghai and the company possessing manufacturing locations throughout the country.