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Merck KGaA biopharma division to make small molecule drugs in China

By Gareth MacDonald+

29-Aug-2014
Last updated on 02-Sep-2014 at 16:32 GMT

Nantong, China where Merck Serono's new site will open in 2017
Nantong, China where Merck Serono's new site will open in 2017

Biopharmaceutical firm Merck Serono will make small molecule drugs at the new plant it is building in China according to a company spokeswoman, who told us the firm will supply both local and international markets.

Plans for the EUR80m production facility in Nantong, China were announced last year , however, construction only began this week.

The manufacturing facility, which is due to be operational in 2017, will focus on the production of its diabetes, cardiovascular disease and thyroid disorder treatment.

Unusually for a biopharmaceutical firm “The medicines which will be manufactured in Nantong are small molecules” according to spokeswoman Benedicte Bogh, who told in-Pharmatechnologist.com plans for the site are still developing.

For the equipment we have not yet finalized the supplier selection and this is still an on-going process. For this reason we cannot divulge the brand names, but the selected suppliers are world-class manufacturers. All key equipment will be supplied from top quality brands in pharmaceutical manufacturing.”

She also said that although “The primary objective is to manufacture for China. However, as the facility will be designed to comply with the highest international standards, manufacturing for other markets may be an option.”

Grown in China

The plan is to produce Glucophage, Concor and Euthyrox all of which are listed on China’s essential drug list, which was acknowledged as a factor it choosing the site according to CEO, Gelen Garijo.

We are focused on localizing production to better cater to the demands of Chinese doctors and patients. At the same time, we are localizing research and development to further build a differentiated portfolio of medicines in China.”

In 2009, Merck KGaA announced plans for an R&D hub in Beijing , which it said would great 200 jobs for Chinese scientists.

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