Merck KGaA builds biopharma research center 

April 26, 2024

Merck KGaA plans to invest more than $321 million (€300 million) to build a new 'Advanced Research Center' at its global headquarters in Darmstadt, Germany. 

The building — which will accommodate around 550 employees upon its estimated completion in early 2027 — will enable research on solutions for manufacturing antibodies, mRNA applications and additional products required for biotech production.

The drugmaker is shooting for gold certification from the German Sustainable Building Council for the new 18,000-square-meter facility, planning "almost" carbon-neutral research operations. Energy supply will be based on photovoltaics, geothermal energy and air-source heat pumps. 

The new building is part of a broader investment initiative at the Darmstadt site that will reach $1.6 billion by 2025.

Merck KGaA specifically highlighted the importance of mRNA research in the research center announcement, noting that there are more than 740 clinical trials in the mRNA space currently in progress globally. The drugmaker has made an effort to boost its mRNA capabilities through acquisitions, paying $780 million to pick up CDMO Exelead in 2022. Headquartered in Indianapolis, Exelead specializes in complex sterile injectable formulations like lipid nanoparticle-based technologies, a key component in mRNA treatments. In 2021, via its life sciences arm MilliporeSigma, Merck KGaA picked up AmpTec, a Germany-based mRNA CDMO.