MilliporeSigma’s life sciences campus in Burlington, Massachusetts, was opened in October 2017. Credit: MilliporeSigma.
The Burlington campus provides process, research and applied solutions. Credit: MilliporeSigma.
The Burlington facility includes Merck's M Lab™ Collaboration Centre. Credit: MilliporeSigma.

In October 2017, MilliporeSigma, the life sciences division of Germany-based science and technology firm Merck, opened a life science campus in Burlington, Massachusetts.

The $115m project was announced in July 2016, with construction starting the same month. The facility replaced MilliporeSigma’s existing location in Billerica, Massachusetts.

The new building will provide employees with a sustainable and collaborative working environment. All 850 of the Billerica facility’s employees have been relocated to the new campus, which is home to almost 1,000 employees.

Details of the Burlington campus

The 280,000ft² Burlington campus is spread over five storeys and includes office spaces with flexible workspaces, laboratories and a customer service and call centre. Rooms for training, display, storage and instrument repairs are also available.

“The Burlington facility replaced MilliporeSigma’s existing facility in Billerica, Massachusetts.”

The facility is also Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certified and includes 70,000ft² of space for future expansion.

The building’s first floor includes Merck’s M Lab™ Collaboration Centre, a 15,000ft² trademarked laboratory. This shared laboratory allows customers to work alongside Merck scientists and engineers in a non-good manufacturing practice (GMP) environment to solve major bio-manufacturing challenges.

The centre provides application and technology demonstrations, as well as optimisation and scale-up of complex applications, development of optimised protocols and procedures, and troubleshooting unit operations. It also provides hands-on training, including formal bioprocess educational courses, webinars and instructional videos and troubleshooting guides.

Merck also operates M Lab centres in Brazil, China, France, India, Singapore and South Korea.

Incentives for the life science campus

The Burlington project was approved by the City of Massachusetts under the MassWorks Infrastructure Programme, which funds projects that support economic development and job creation.

Merck’s project received a 15% exemption on property taxes for a 15-year period.

Location and contractors for the Burlington campus

MilliporeSigma is one of many biopharmaceutical companies setting up operations in Massachusetts and its nearby areas. With the presence of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Harvard University and other academic institutions, the region is held to be one of the top hubs in the world for biopharmaceutical research and development (R&D).

Biopharmaceutical companies such as Bayer and Bristol-Myers Squibb have also set up innovation centres and shared laboratories similar to the M Lab centre in Massachusetts to accelerate their R&D activities.

The life science campus was built by the Burlington-based Gutierrez Company.

Marketing commentary on Merck and MilliporeSigma

Merck was founded as a family-owned business in 1668. Operating as MilliporeSigma in the US and Canada, the company’s life sciences division includes 65 manufacturing sites worldwide.

The life sciences division provides products and services based on process solutions, research solutions and applied solutions. Its combined portfolio includes more than 300,000 products.

Process solutions provided by the life sciences division include single-use manufacturing, pharmaceutical raw materials and engineering and validation services. Research solutions include bioscience reagents, speciality chemicals and lab separation tools. Applied solutions include lab water systems, critical raw materials, analytical reagents and point-of-use devices.