Merck will build a new bioprocessing production facility in South Korea. Credit: Merck.
The proposed bioprocessing facility will be based in Daejeon City. Credit: Ingrid bloom via Shutterstock.
The new facility will supply crucial biotech products such as dry powder cell culture media, process liquids, and others. Credit: mkfilm via Shutterstock.

Merck will build a Bioprocessing Production Centre in Daejeon City, approximately 140km south of Seoul in South Korea.

The facility will provide products to customers across the Asia-Pacific region for the development and production of biologics, thereby enhancing Merck’s presence in the rapidly expanding Asia-Pacific market.

Merck’s investment in South Korea is part of a broader, multiyear investment programme aimed at increasing the capacity and capabilities of its Life Science business sector.

The programme responds to the increasing global demand for critical drugs and aims to make substantial contributions to public health.

The company is investing more than €300m ($325m) into the project, marking the largest investment by Merck’s Life Science business sector in the Asia-Pacific to date.

The final approval for the facility was granted at the end of February 2024, with operations expected to commence by the end of 2026. The new site is anticipated to generate approximately 300 additional jobs by the end of 2028.

Bioprocessing Production Centre development details

Merck entered a memorandum of understanding with South Korea’s Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy and Daejeon City in May 2023, to establish a new Asia-Pacific Bioprocessing Centre.

The facility will cater to the commercial manufacturing needs of biotech and pharmaceutical companies across the Asia-Pacific.

Furthermore, Merck intends to collaborate with the Daejeon government to bolster biotech firms situated in the Daedeok Research Complex in Daejeon, while also enhancing bio-research partnerships with top Korean universities.

Bioprocessing Production Centre details

Merck’s new Bioprocessing Production Centre will span 43,000m² and will feature state-of-the-art production capacities, a distribution centre, and an automated warehouse.

The facility will provide vital biotech products such as dry powder cell culture media, process liquids, pre-good manufacturing practice small-scale manufacturing, and sterile sampling systems.

The facility will assist biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies in process development, clinical research, and the commercial production of biologics.

Derived from large, complex biological compounds, biologics represent one of the fastest-growing drug classes and include vaccines, cell and gene therapies, and protein-based treatments such as monoclonal antibodies.

Contractors involved

Kolon Global, a construction company based in South Korea, has been contracted by Merck for the development of the project.

Marketing commentary on Merck

Merck, a science and technology company based in Germany, operates across the sectors of life sciences, healthcare, and electronics, with more than 64,000 employees.

The company is involved in various activities, from accelerating drug development and manufacturing to finding novel treatments for challenging diseases and enhancing device intelligence.

Merck Korea, established in 1989, has been a driving force in the dynamic growth of the science and technology industries, with more than 1,700 employees across life sciences, healthcare, and electronics.

Merck’s presence in Korea includes 13 production and research and development sites, among which is the M Lab Collaboration Centre in Songdo, Incheon, that supports biopharmaceutical companies in the region.

The company opened another M Lab Collaboration Centre in Shanghai in July 2020, which is one of the company’s largest of nine centres worldwide.

Since 2020, Merck has announced several industrial capacity and capability expansion projects within its Life Science division across Europe, China, and the US, with investments exceeding €2bn, as part of the multiyear programme.