Merck commits big dollars to Singapore research and manufacturing

Merck plans to keep Singapore as part of its Asian plans for years to come. The U.S. drug giant ($MRK) has inked an agreement with the tiny country's economic development agency to pump hundreds of millions of dollars into its manufacturing and research activities there for the next 10 years, Bloomberg reports.

Building on its previous investments in Singapore, Merck agreed to invest $250 million in upgrades to its plant in Tuas and other operations to commercialize therapies, Bernama reported. The drugmaker also plans to fuel research in the country with S$700 million (US$553 million) in various research activities.

Singapore has been a hotspot for drug manufacturing for many years, and the government has spent a fortune over the past decade to foster the type of biotech innovation to keep its life sciences industry humming for years to come. Its "Biopolis" R&D complex, which opened in 2003, has been one of the crown jewels of its biomedical research cluster. And the country has been an attractive site for biotech upstarts and industry heavyweights such as Pfizer ($PFE), GlaxoSmithKline ($GSK) and Eli Lilly ($LLY). Merck's presence in the country dates back more than a decade.

"We are encouraged this will pave the way for Singapore to continue to enhance its capabilities as an integrated global pharmaceutical site in Asia," Dr. Beh Swan Gin, managing director of Singapore's Economic Development Board, said, as quoted by Bernama.

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- here's the article from Bernama