Since entering Singapore in 1998 Merck has built active pharmaceutical ingredient and finished dosage plants. Operations will expand over the next 10 years as Merck invests $250m as part of an agreement with the Singapore Economic Development Board (SEDB).
“Merck is pleased to expand its already substantial operations in Singapore with new, far-reaching commitments”, Willie Deese, executive vice president and president, Merck Manufacturing Division, said.
A further S$700m (€550m) is being invested in local research activities. Merck also plans to expand its biotech operations, add technology to support new product launches, and collaborate with local universities to develop its workforce.
SEDB is backing the expansion. In 2009 Yeoh Keat Chuan, executive director of biomedical sciences at SEDB, told in-PharmaTechnologist Singapore would use incentives to attract biomanufacturing. Using this approach SEDB attracted Lonza and now Merck to invest in production capacity in Singapore.
“We are encouraged that this will pave the way for Singapore to continue to enhance our capabilities as an integrated global pharmaceutical site in Asia, across manufacturing, research and development and commercial operations”, Beh Swan Gin, managing director of SEDB, said.
Merck’s expansion in Singapore coincides with Lonza floating on the country’s stock exchange. Lonza has added Asian operations in recent years but growth in investment from the region has failed to keep pace.
“The successful listing on the SGX-ST will…enable [Lonza] to further tap into the market growth in Asia. We look towards broadening our investor base in Asia and creating a ‘local currency’ for future growth in the region”, Stefan Borgas, CEO of Lonza, said.