MSD (Merck & Co) is investing more than US$550 million in local research activities in Singapore, where it acquired a Translational Medicines Research Center through its merger with Schering-Plough in 2009.

The commitment to new expenditure of S$700 million on research is part of a broader investment programme in Singapore that includes more than US$250 million over the next ten years for site improvements at MSD’s existing manufacturing facilities in Tuas.

Also on the plate are expanding the company’s biotechnology operations, adding technology capability to support new product launches, and helping to develop further the skills and technical expertise of MSD’s Singapore-based workforce, through collaborations with local universities and training opportunities at the company’s other facilities around the world.

All of this is the subject of a newly signed agreement between MSD and the Singapore Economic Development Board, furnishing the US-based company with “a long-term vision for its operations across all facets of its business in Singapore”, the partners said.

The total MSD workforce in Singapore numbers around 1,500 employees. The company first established manufacturing operations in the island state in 1996 (it runs both bulk and formulation facilities on Tuas Biomedical Park) and MSD’s cumulative investments in Singapore to date are estimated at USD$1.5 billion.

Translational Medicines Researcher Center

Schering-Plough opened its Translational Medicines Researcher Center, a 30,000 sq ft facility located in the Singapore Biopolis, in February 2009.

The Center was originally designed to support global R&D programmes by focusing on biomarker discovery and development across various therapeutic areas including cardiovascular, central nervous system, infectious, respiratory and women’s diseases, as well as oncology and immunology.