Merck KGaA blueprints fresh growth in Massachusetts R&D ops

Merck HQ

After more than a decade stymied by one of the worst track records in biopharma R&D, Merck KGaA announced plans today to beef up its R&D operations in Massachusetts, adding 30,000 square feet of research space and new staffers to its research arm.

The German pharma company says 120 new and current staffers will move into its new space in Billerica, MA, which is being added on after a series of R&D setbacks and reorganizations over the years. 

EMD Serono tried twice to advance a cancer vaccine through late-stage development, only to bow out each time after fresh data convinced investigators they were on the wrong track. 

Now, though, Merck KGaA is advancing a big immuno-oncology partnership with Pfizer which attracted a record $850 million upfront payment. And its expansion will follow in the footsteps of that deal, with added resources for oncology, immuno-oncology as well as immunology.

"This investment is a reflection of our strengthening footprint in the Boston area and in the US as a leader in biopharma,” said R&D director Luciano Rossetti, the latest in a string of research chiefs at the German Merck, in a release.

Merck KGaA has 2,000 research staffers operating in Darmstadt, Germany; Boston, U.S.; Tokyo, Japan; and Beijing, China. The new facility is expected to be ready for researchers in June of next year.

- read the release