Merck KGaA is the latest drugmaker to announce plans to expand its research efforts in China.

The German firm’s Merck Serono division is establishing a global R&D centre in Beijing and is planning to invest more than 150 million euros. The move will create more than 200 new jobs over the next four years.

Elmar Schnee, president of Merck Serono, said that the creation of the China R&D centre makes sense, given the “rising demand for more healthcare options" in the country. Bernhard Kirschbaum, executive vice president of R&D at the unit, added that “China is a country with talented scientists and high-quality research”, noting that that new site will become one of the key R&D hubs for Merck Serono, alongside Germany, Switzerland and the USA.

The company said that the new team will lead drug development for China and other Asian countries, as well as participate in global clinical trials. It will also “ensure the management of collaborations with research institutions in China and continue to look for partnerships with local academic institutions and companies”.

Activities conducted in the China R&D centre will mainly focus on biomarker research, including pharmacogenomics and bioanalytics activities, MercK Serono said. It currently employs more than 1,000 people in the country.