Pharmaceutical manufacturing and packaging facility
In August 2014, Merck Serono began constructing a new pharmaceutical manufacturing facility in Nantong, China.
Inaugurated in November 2016, the facility is Merck’s second largest pharmaceutical manufacturing plant worldwide. It produces and packages drug brands, including Glucophage, Concor and Euthyrox, which are used for the treatment of diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and thyroid disorders respectively.
The large-scale greenfield investment strengthens Merck’s presence in China and localises research and development (R&D) to further enhance its portfolio of medicines in general and specialised segments.
It made Merck one of the first multinational companies (MNC) in China to produce drugs listed in China’s Essential Drug List (EDL), which contains therapies meant to meet the healthcare needs of the public.
Merck announced its plans to build a €80m ($86.8m) pharmaceutical manufacturing facility in China in November 2013.
During the signing ceremony, Merck announced it would make a total investment of €170m ($188m) in China’s pharmaceutical and healthcare industry.
The new plant was constructed in the BioSpark zone of Nantong Economical Technological Development Area (NETDA) in the Greater Shanghai region. This is located approximately 100km north in the City of Nantong, Jiangsu Province, China.
BioSpark is a high-tech industrial park in the NETDA region that is designed to attract multinational and small and medium-sized companies to establish pharmaceutical manufacturing, R&D and related supply chain activities in China.
Nantong, the eastern coastal city of China, offers unique advantages in terms of geography, resource allocation, supply and other factors.
Merck officially inaugurated a new drug packaging facility at Hangzhou in April 2013.
The new pharmaceutical facility was constructed in a 40,000m² area, which has provision for further extension by up to 20,000m².
It has a total built-up area of 38,000m², with the production building occupying 23,000m² and the warehouse and logistics building occupying 9,000m².
Both production and warehouse facilities are dedicated to high-level current good manufacturing practice (cGMP) activities. The support buildings will comprise central utilities, a fire-fighting pump station, a canteen and offices.
The plant is designed in accordance with international standards in terms of quality, environment and health and safety to ensure the availability of high-quality medicines for patients. Sustainable measures are being implemented during the plant’s construction to maximise resource efficiency and minimise waste generation during manufacturing.
The manufacturing site currently provides employment to 180 people, which is expected to increase to more than 400 by 2021.
The new biopharma facility in China is dedicated to the bulk production of multiple types of oral solid dosage (OSD) drugs and their final packaging, as well as the company’s pharmaceutical preparations for the treatment of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, thyroid disorders and other diseases.
Merck awarded the project’s construction contract to German high-tech engineering and construction company M+W Group in October 2014.
The contractual scope includes engineering design, procurement, construction management and validation.
Merck has been operating in China for more than eight decades and is consistently expanding its presence.
The company focusses on the pharmaceutical, chemical and life science sectors of the rapidly growing Chinese market, which is one of its eight strategic countries.
Besides the new manufacturing site in Nantong, Merck’s recent investments in China include a pharmaceutical research centre in Beijing, a biopharmaceutical technical and training centre in Shanghai and a liquid crystals production unit in Shanghai.
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