Merck Serono Launches Expansion of Flagship Biotech Center to Meet Growing Patient Needs

December 10, 2008

Merck Serono (Darmstadt, Germany) has begun expansion of the Merck Serono Biotech Center (MSBC), its production site in Corsier-sur-Vevey, Switzerland.

Merck Serono (Darmstadt, Germany) has begun expansion of the Merck Serono Biotech Center (MSBC), its production site in Corsier-sur-Vevey, Switzerland. The expansion will enable the production of greater quantities of Erbitux (cetuximab) to meet growing patient needs, as well as the production of potential future treatments in autoimmune and inflammatory diseases currently under clinical development. Erbitux, Merck Serono’s monoclonal antibody for the targeted treatment of colorectal and head and neck cancers, is currently available in approximately 70 countries.

Two new dedicated production suites with 120,000 liters of bioreactor capacity, a state-of-the-art wastewater treatment station, and a logistic center will be added to the existing facilities by the end of 2010. The expansion will create 200 new jobs. Following inspection by worldwide health authorities, including the EMEA and Swissmedic, the production of Erbitux is expected to begin at the MSBC in 2012.

Inaugurated in April 1999, the MSBC currently manufactures the active ingredient for Merck Serono’s leading multiple sclerosis treatment Rebif (interferon beta-1a) for the global market, as well as various therapeutic proteins for ongoing clinical trials in development at Merck Serono. The two existing production suites are currently operated by 250 qualified employees, including laboratory personnel, engineers, and biologists.