Merck is expanding its membrane and filtration manufacturing capabilities in Ireland. The company will invest approximately €440 million to increase membrane manufacturing capacity in Carrigtwohill and to build a new manufacturing facility at Blarney Business Park, both in Cork, Ireland. The investment, which is the largest in a single site ever for Merck’s Life Science business sector, will create more than 370 permanent jobs by the end of 2027.
“This €440 million expansion of our Cork site, together with other major investments worldwide, will further enhance the value that Merck can deliver to customers throughout the development and production of their specialized medicines, vaccines and diagnostics,” said Belén Garijo, Chair of the Executive Board and CEO of Merck.
“Ireland is central to our strategy to drive long-term growth and expand our global leadership position in Life Science,” said Matthias Heinzel, Member of the Executive Board of Merck and CEO Life Science. “The investment in Cork is the biggest site investment in the history of our Life Science business and will accelerate the delivery of the critical products, technologies and services our customers need to fight the world’s toughest health challenges, including Covid-19.”
Speaking at the site’s official announcement, Irish Prime Minister Micheál Martin said: “I welcome today’s very significant announcement from Merck, which underlines the company’s commitment to doing business in Ireland. This investment, the largest in the history of Merck Life Science, speaks volumes about our capacity to provide the right conditions for multinational organizations to grow their operations. Ireland’s development of a strong life sciences ecosystem has been one of our greatest economic successes. I am delighted that Merck has chosen Cork for its latest investment. I wish the team continued success, as they work towards improving lives around the world.”
At Blarney Business Park, Merck is going to build a new filtration manufacturing facility for almost €150 million. Once fully operational, it will increase the company’s global manufacturing capacity and supply customers producing both traditional and novel treatments and therapeutics.
With the more than €290 million expansion in Carrigtwohill, Merck is adding a manufacturing facility for the immersion casting of membranes. These membranes support novel and gene therapies, as well as applications like virus sterilisation.
The announcement follows a €36 million investment at the same site in 2021 for a second lateral flow membrane manufacturing product line. Now formally open, this facility produces lateral flow membranes, most commonly used in rapid diagnostic testing for rare diseases such as dengue fever, malaria and Ebola. They are also a key component in rapid antigen tests, which are used for the detection of Covid‑19.
The membranes also serve the Process Solutions business, which is one of the “Big 3” growth drivers for Merck and markets products and services for the entire pharmaceutical manufacturing value chain. Merck aims to increase its Group sales to approximately €25 billion by 2025. To achieve its growth targets, the company plans to increase its total investments between 2021 and 2025 significantly compared with the period from 2016 to 2020.
Merck’s Life Science business sector is continuing to invest in products and technologies across its portfolio that are key to manufacturing novel therapies and vaccines, including single-use solutions, high-potency active pharmaceutical ingredients (HP-APIs) and novel modalities, such as antibody-drug conjugates (ADCs) and viral and gene therapies (VGTs).
Over the next five years, Merck will implement investment programs worldwide. Target countries include Germany, China, France, Switzerland, Ireland and the USA. All expansion projects include clear targets for water consumption, waste management, and energy efficiency to support Merck in meeting its goal to be climate neutral by 2040, in line with its sustainability strategy.
Recently, Merck announced expansion projects in its Life Science business sector in Wuxi, China; Darmstadt, Germany; Buchs, Switzerland; Molsheim, France, Carlsbad, California, USA; Madison, Wisconsin, USA; Jaffrey, New Hampshire, USA; and Danvers, Massachusetts, USA. These expansions are part of an ambitious, multi-year program to increase the industrial capacity and capabilities of Merck’s Life Science business sector to support the growing global demand for lifesaving medications and to make significant contributions to public health.