Merck KGaA has set up a new distribution facility in Germany, as the company looks to continue streamlining its manufacturing and build up the production site at its headquarters in Darmstadt, the company said in a statement. The new facility is apparently a part of the €1 billion investment through 2020, which the company is planning to transform into a contemporary global headquarters.
The new 15,000 square-meter facility, worth €63 million ($72.3 million), has robotized logistics and eight packaging lines along with having the processing capacity of more than 210 million boxes of medicines every year. It has integrated smart packaging to ensure increased flexibility in adapting the production of medicines to patient demand, the company informed.
New technologies for tracing and tracking medicines, to prevent counterfeiting and for recalls, have also been incorporated within the distribution center. The company further stated that besides handling current drugs like Merck’s Glucophage, Euthyrox and Concor, the facility has capacity for products in its pipeline, including evobrutinib from neurology-immunology, as well as oncology candidate tepotinib.
Stefan Oschmann, Chief Executive of Merck KGaA, was quoted stating that Darmstadt, which is the company’s prime hub for the manufacturing of medicines, would play a vital role in its future growth plans. The latest investment in a new, advanced packaging center reflects the company’s commitment to its headquarters, he added.
The company had said last year that it would invest over $100 million on four sites in France, Switzerland and Germany, but would close German sites in Berlin, Hohenbrunn, Eppelheim and Steinheim. Starting in 2019, the company will shift its operations from those sites to other facilities, and this process is scheduled to be completed by 2022. Merck expects that this move, which is needed to streamline its European production, would result into a net loss of about 200 jobs.