Science and technology company Merck has broken ground on a new €250m biotech development facility in Switzerland.

Being built near Merck’s existing biotech commercial manufacturing site in Corsier-sur-Vevey, the new facility, named Merck Biotech Development Center, will be dedicated to biotech development and manufacturing for clinical studies.

The facility will comprise a building with a total development space of 15,700m² and will employ cross-functional team of approximately 250 people.

Merck said that the investment in the new facility comes as it witnesses increased growth of the Healthcare business sector R&D pipeline.

The investment is expected to help Merck to deliver clinical trial material in a cost-effective way while contributing to accelerated development timelines of new biological entities.

Merck CEO and executive board chairman Stefan Oschmann said: “This investment in the Merck Biotech Development Center reflects our commitment to speed up the availability of new medicines for patients in need, and confirms the importance of Switzerland as our prime hub for the manufacturing of biotech medicines.”

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The firm also expects the new facility to help and address the increasing manufacturing complexity of the next generations of biotech compounds.

Merck Healthcare CEO and executive board member Belén Garijo said: “Our investment in this biotech development facility in Switzerland is strongly related to the growth and progression of our Healthcare pipeline, and our confidence in its future potential.”

The Biotech Development Center will feature advanced digital solutions and improved technological standards, including continuous manufacturing and laboratory automation.

Additionally, the facility will feature flexible-by-design infrastructure to adapt to emerging needs and technology evolution while its open workspaces enable collaboration, creativity and innovation.

Merck is planning to complete the construction of the building in 2021. Subject to receiving approvals from regulatory authorities, the facility will be fully operational by the end of 2022.

Merck said that the Biotech Development Center will contribute to its commitment to further increase its capacities in the research, development, and manufacturing of medicines.

Illustration of Merck’s biotech development facility in Switzerland. (Credit: Merck Serono S.A.)