Merck KGaA to Expand Research and Development Presence in China

Merck KGaAMerck KGaA announced plans to strengthen its global research and development (R&D) capabilities of its Merck Serono division by establishing a global R&D center in Beijing, China. Merck is planning to invest more than € 150 million and create more than 200 new qualified jobs over the next four years to set up the China R&D center and conduct R&D activities in China.

"The creation of the China R&D center marks a new milestone in Merck Serono's commitment to China, where there is a rising demand for more healthcare options," said Elmar Schnee, Executive Board Member with responsibility for the Pharmaceuticals business sector. "We are committed to investing in areas that can help China to address some of its public health needs that currently are not met."

"China is a country with talented scientists and high-quality research," added Bernhard Kirschbaum, Executive Vice President, Research and Development for Merck Serono. "We will recruit more R&D talent in China and build a world-class organization in China that will extend our global R&D expertise and capabilities."

The China R&D organization will become one of the key R&D hubs for Merck Serono worldwide. Key hubs so far are Germany, Switzerland and the United States.

The China team will lead drug development for China and other Asian countries, for local clinical trials as well as for the participation in global clinical trials. The team also will ensure the management of collaborations with research institutions in China and continue to look for partnerships with local academic institutions and companies. Research activities conducted in the China R&D center will mainly focus on biomarker research including pharmacogenomics and bioanalytics activities.

Merck Serono already has some research collaborations in China and plans to further develop its collaboration network and build its R&D strategy on more innovation opportunities by tapping into the Chinese scientific expertise.

Merck Serono China currently employs more than 1,000 persons nationwide. Merck Serono China offers a portfolio of innovative medicines, including the division’s leading brands serving patients with cancer (Erbitux®), multiple sclerosis (Rebif®), infertility (Gonal-f®), endocrine and metabolic disorders (Saizen®), as well as cardiometabolic diseases (Concor®, Euthyrox®).

Merck is a global pharmaceutical and chemical company with total revenues of € 7.6 billion in 2008, a history that began in 1668, and a future shaped by approximately 33,000 employees in 60 countries. Its success is characterized by innovations from entrepreneurial employees. Merck's operating activities come under the umbrella of Merck KGaA, in which the Merck family holds an approximately 70% interest and free shareholders own the remaining approximately 30%. In 1917 the U.S. subsidiary Merck & Co. was expropriated and has been an independent company ever since.

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