Merck Serono, the biopharmaceutical division of Merck, has invested €80m for the construction of a new pharmaceutical manufacturing facility in China.

Designed to comply with the highest international quality standards, the new facility will be located in the Nantong Economical Technological Development Area’s (NETDA) BioSpark, a high-tech industrial park designed to accommodate all aspects of the life science industry.

Construction of the facility is expected to commence in 2014, with completion scheduled for 2016 and start of commercial production in 2017.

Following completion, the new facility, which will cover an area of 40,000m² with a possible 20,000m² extension, will be responsible for the bulk production and packaging of the company’s leading brands.

The brands include Glucophage, Concor and Euthyrox intended for the treatment of diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and thyroid disorders respectively.

The company said that preservation of the environment will also be a critical consideration in the facility’s construction, with "a maximisation of resource efficiency and minimised waste generation during the manufacturing process".

Merck Serono China general manager and managing director Allan Gabor said the new facility will become Merck Serono’s second largest pharmaceutical manufacturing site in the world and will help ensure that the company’s medicines will always be available to patients who rely on them, which is a key priority.

"With our research center, our development capabilities, our commercial presence and this new manufacturing facility, we are building for the future in China by investing across our value chain," Gabor added.

The group’s latest investment in a local facility focused on the manufacturing of medicines referenced in China’s essential drug list is expected to bolster its expansion efforts in the Chinese market.

Apart from the latest investment, the Merck group has also invested in the Merck Millipore Biopharmaceutical Technical and Training Centre and a soon to be opened Liquid Crystals manufacturing facility, both located in Shanghai.

Merck Serono is a Switzerland-based biopharmaceutical division of Merck and is focused in the discovery, development, manufacturing and marketing prescription medicines of both chemical and biological origin in specialist indications.