Merck to shutter eight R&D facilities in global restructuring

Driven by a need to cut back after swallowing Schering-Plough while relying more on external development collaborations, Merck today spelled out long-awaited plans to shutter eight R&D centers around the globe, including facilities in Cambridge, MA and Montreal.

In a release issued this morning, Merck said it would close research operations in Montreal, Canada; Boxmeer (Nobilon facility only), Oss, and Schaijk, Netherlands; Odense, Denmark; Waltrop, Germany; Newhouse, Scotland; and Cambridge (Kendall Square), MA. Merck's manufacturing division, meanwhile, will shrink from 91 facilities at the close of the merger to 77 facilities.

Merck said that its will retain its focus on seven key therapeutic franchise areas: Cardiovascular Disease; Diabetes and Obesity; Infectious Disease; Oncology; Neuroscience and Ophthalmology; Respiratory and Immunology; and Women's Health and Endocrine. Merck's women's health research, currently centered in Oss, the Netherlands, will be relocated primarily to the U.S.

"These changes are crucial to drive future growth and realize the promise of being a global health care leader for the long term," said Merck CEO Richard Clark in a prepared statement. "While we believe these actions are necessary to support Merck's competitive advantage, they required difficult decisions that will impact some of our colleagues, their families and local communities. We will implement our restructuring plans with the utmost care and respect for the hard-working and talented employees of Merck."

- here's the Merck release