The facility, due to become operational in mid-2011, will employ crystallisation to produce chemicals used in active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs), drug excipients and biopharmaceutical reagents on a contractual basis.
Company spokesman Gangolf Schrimpf said the plant, which will also supply inorganic salts to customers in the food industry, is part of an expansion of the German drug and chemical firm’s laboratory and life science solutions businesses.
Dr Schrimpf told in-PharmaTechnologist that: “[Merck] decided to scale up its production capacities for inorganic salts to respond to the growing global demand,” and added that it will position the division as a significant player in the industry.
He also predicted that Merck’s ability to control the entire inorganic salt manufacturing process will be highly valued by pharmaceutical industry clients for whom drug ingredient safety and quality are paramount.
The new inorganics facility is part of a wider expansion of Merck’s performance and life science chemicals division that began with the construction of a €47m materials research centre at the Darmstadt site in 2008.
In a press statement, Klaus Bischoff, head of life science division said that: “We want to grow along with our customers.
“This expansion of capacity and modernization is our response to the growing global demand for and high requirements placed on quality and product safety for final pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical formulations.”