Merck, a pharmaceutical company based in Germany, has expanded its existing cell culture media production facility in Lenexa, Kansas, US, to increase its production capacity.
The facility is the largest dry powder cell culture media facility and centre of excellence for Merck in North America. The expansion supports the company in fulfilling existing demand as well as ensuring a robust supply for future demand.
Cell culture media is a critical component used in the development of life-saving treatments and in processes such as vaccine development, gene therapy and the production of monoclonal antibodies.
The opening of the expanded facility with an investment of €23m ($25m) was commemorated with a ribbon-cutting ceremony and VIP tour in July 2023. The project has created 60 new jobs in the Kansas City area.
The facility is located at 13804 W 107th Street in the Kansas City suburb of Lenexa.
Merck’s cell culture media production facility expansion details
Merck’s Kansas facility has been expanded with the addition of 9,100m² (98,000ft² ) of redesigned lab space and production capability for manufacturing cell culture media.
The facility was equipped with a new dry powder media manufacturing line, adding to the dry powder grinding and blending capabilities of the facility.
Details of existing Merck’s cell culture media production facility in Lenexa
Merck’s cell culture media production facility in Lenexa is part of the centre of excellence dedicated to the production of cell culture media products.
The facility features a scale-down powder mill and blend process equipment and caters to the ever-evolving requirements of the essential raw material supply in support of continued growth in biopharmaceuticals.
The facility’s ACF Line 1 and ACF Line 2 are dedicated to the production of superior quality dry powder cell culture medium.
The ACF Line 1 handles batch sizes of 300kg to 4,000kg, while the ACF Line 2 handles 25kg to 1,000kg. The nominal good manufacturing practice capacity of the facility is more than 1,000 metric tons a year. The facility features conical blenders for general mill processing and liquid and powder imMEDIAte Advantage® Services process controls.
Complex materials such as cell culture media are mostly a crucial source of process variability. The imMEDIAte Advantage® laboratory in Lenexa is dedicated to supporting the research and development of the critical component in the process.
The design of the validated scale-down process equipment imMEDIAte Advantage Pin Mill is similar to that of the larger full-scale current good manufacturing practice counterparts. It features pre-blend, pin mill and post-blend process flow and supports lot sizes ranging between 0.5kg and 20kg. It uses nitrogen gas to cool the mill and transport components after particle size reduction. The milling temperature is maintained below 40°C.
The majority of the products manufactured by Lenexa are cell culture media composed of dry powder, which are primarily utilised in the biotherapeutic process.
Marketing commentary on Merck
Merck has three centres of excellence for manufacturing dry powder cell culture media. They are located in Lenexa, Kansas, serving the Americas region, in Irvine, Scotland, serving Europe, the Middle East and Africa, and Nantong, China, serving the Asia Pacific region.
The company has more than 64,000 employees across the globe.
Merck’s life science business, which is operated as MilliporeSigma in the US and Canada, has more than 28,000 employees and more than 55 manufacturing and testing sites globally, with more than 300,000 products in its portfolio.