As part of its plans to expand in China, Merck KGaA is investing 80 million euros in a manufacturing plant in the Shanghai area.

The new facility, which will be the second-largest plant for the German group's Merck Serono unit, will focus on the bulk production and packaging of its Glucophage (metformin) diabetes products, the beta blocker Concor (bisoprolol) franchise and the thyroid treatment Euthyrox (levothyroxine). Construction of the site is scheduled to start in 2014 and  be completed in 2016; it will start commercial production in 2017.

Belen Garijo, Merck Serono chief executive, “said the investment reflects a "long-term commitment to the country where our group has been present for 80 years”. She noted that Merck is one of the first multinationals "investing in a local site focused on the manufacturing of medicines referenced in China’s essential drug list, and serve the country’s expanding healthcare needs in the areas of diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and thyroid disorders".

Allan Gabor, managing director of Merck Serono in China, aded that "with our research centre, our development capabilities, our commercial presence and this new manufacturing facility, we are building for the future in China by investing across our value chain”. Just last week, the firm signed an oncology pact with BeiGene, its second deal in the last few months with the Beijing-headquartered company.

Merck Serono China currently employs 1,250 people in the country.