Chinese CRO Pharmaron leases Merck facility in the U.K.

China’s Pharmaron has picked up an R&D facility in the U.K. from Merck & Co. for an undisclosed lease amount. The move gives Pharmaron a growing foothold in Europe.

The site in Hoddesdon is a process development and research facility with GMP credentials. Pharmaron boasts more than 3,000 employees and ties with the likes of AstraZeneca and others.

Under the deal, Merck will remain in office buildings on site, providing further connections for the Chinese CRO.

“We are very pleased to be progressing this deal with Pharmaron,” Louise Houston, Merck’s U.K. and Ireland managing director, said. “This deal will secure the future of the site while meeting the changing business needs of MSD and its employees for the foreseeable future. It also ensures MSD’s scientific legacy in Hoddesdon continues, with the potential to create local opportunities for our scientific staff in their areas of expertise.”

The deal follows Pharmaron’s acquisition of the U.K.’s Quotient Bioresearch earlier this year and a $280 million cash influx from China’s CITIC M&A fund and Legend Capital late last year.

“This is an exciting opportunity to have an industry-leading R&D site join the Pharmaron group, which once again demonstrates our commitment to our mission to become a world leader in small molecule drug R&D services,” Pharmaron CEO Boliang Lou said. “It allows us to develop our global capabilities in process chemistry and manufacturing services area, strengthening our capabilities in fully integrated R&D services. Together with the recent addition of GMP radiochemistry and GCP/GLP metabolism platforms through acquisition of Quotient Bioresearch in the U.K., this deal further consolidates our strategic position in Europe to better serve our partners globally, particularly in Europe.”