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Merck breaks ground for Korean bioprocessing plant

May 29, 2024 - 16:29 By Shim Woo-hyun
Merck Life Science CEO Matthias Heinzel (sixth from left) joins a groundbreaking ceremony of bioprocessing production center in Daejeon along with other attendees to the event, Wednesday. (Merck Life Science)

German pharmaceutical company Merck Life Science on Wednesday started the construction of a new bioprocessing production center in Daejeon, in which it will invest around 300 million euros ($325 million) -- the company’s largest investment in the Asia-Pacific region.

The new bioprocessing production center will be built on a 43,000-square-meter plot of land within Daejeon’s International Science-Business Belt, some 140 kilometers south of Seoul. Merck Life Science will aim to complete the construction by 2026.

“The Asia-Pacific bioprocessing manufacturing base that we break ground today is the largest ever investment in the Asia Pacific region for Merck Life Science,” said Merck Life Science CEO Matthias Heinzel.

When completed, the facility will provide vital biotech products, including dry powder cell culture media and process liquids, catering to the commercial manufacturing needs of biotech and pharmaceutical companies not only within South Korea but also in other countries in the Asia-Pacific region.

“It will provide critical materials used in the clinical manufacture of advanced biopharmaceuticals in Korea and the Asia-Pacific region. This is a major step in realizing our ‘in-region, for-region’ manufacturing strategy, and will strengthen the resilience of our supply chain in the fastest-growing region of the world,” Heinzel added.

The facility will also support biotech and pharmaceutical companies in process development, clinical research, and the commercial production of biologics.

According to Merck Life Science, the new facility will also add around 300 new jobs in Daejeon. After entering the Korean market in 1989, the company established production and research facilities in 13 locations and hired some 1,730 employees.

“The latest investment made by Merck Life Science will not only help the country secure a stable supply of raw materials for biopharmaceutical manufacturing and increase its exports but also contribute to vitalizing the local economy,” said South Korea's Trade Minister Cheong In-kyo.

Meanwhile, Merck Life Science held a groundbreaking ceremony in the city’s international science-business belt. Attendees at the event included Merck Life Science CEO Heinzel, South Korea's Trade Minister Cheong and Daejeon Mayor Lee Jang-woo.

Merck Life Science also signed a memorandum of understanding with Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology to initiate joint research in the biopharmaceutical industry.