MilliporeSigma injects $326m in Korea production site

MilliporeSigma has invested over €300 million ($326 million) to construct a bioprocessing production center in Daejeon, South Korea.

Millie Nelson, Editor

March 25, 2024

3 Min Read

Contract development manufacturing organization (CDMO) MilliporeSigma, the life sciences division of Merck KGaA, has made its largest investment to date in the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region with its Daejeon buildout.  

The firm said the 43,000 square-meter center will support and provide various biotech products such as process liquids, dry powder cell culture media, small-scale production, and sterile sampling systems. Additionally, the facility will include manufacturing capacity, an automated warehouse, and a distribution center.

"This investment is a direct result of our evolved Life Science strategy, focused on strengthening our core business and expanding in high-growth areas," Sebastian Arana, head of Process Solutions at MilliporeSigma, told us.

"That includes raising our ambition in Asia-Pacific (APAC) to enhance our support level across the region and share technological expertise with customers amid growth.

"With this in mind, we have assessed a number of countries in detail, based on the evaluation of critical factors including market dynamics, operational consideration, qualified talent and government-related factors, such as political stability, policy and regulatory landscape. With a thriving life science industry and ecosystem, well-established infrastructure and a highly skilled workforce, Korea is a great fit for a potential investment to further grow and support our Life Science business in the APAC region."

According to the CDMO, the investment is anticipated to create around 300 additional jobs by the end of 2028.

"Our hiring strategy is designed to strengthen our workforce and foster diversity, equity and inclusion across our global operations," we were told. "We are actively seeking top talents through targeted recruitment efforts and strategic hiring approach, and aim to attract candidates with diverse skills, experiences and perspectives that will contribute to our success. We plan to engage with external stakeholders, job fairs, local universities and colleges to promote and attract top talent to our organization. We will also support internal transfers within our company as well as offer an employee referral program."

Furthermore, MilliporeSigma said the Daejon site is part of the firm’s multi-year investment program, which aims to scale the capacity and capabilities of its Life Science business sector.

"In order to meet the growing demand for life-saving therapies, a geographically diverse supply chain network is crucial. We already have a strong presence in APAC, and our new bioprocessing facility in Daejeon will support process development, clinical stages and commercial manufacturing for biologics, further bolstering our capacity and capabilities in the region.

"Closer proximity will enhance customer’s access to critical solutions for biologics research and manufacturing in Korea and throughout the entire Asia Pacific region."

MilliporeSigma is the latest player in the space to invest in South Korea. In April 2021, Cytiva bolstered its commitment in the Korean market  through signing a memorandum of understand (MoU) with Seol National University (SNU) with a plan to install six pieces of its equipment for a laboratory at the College of Natural Sciences.  

In July 2021, Thermo Fisher Scientific opened its Bioprocess Design Center (BDC) in Incheon, Korea to support the region’s growing biomanufacturing industry. And at the start of this year, Sartorius cited South Korea’s “very stable market” as a key driver in its $292 million investment in a production site in the area.  

Additionally, the firm has made a string of investments globally to increase its own capacity. In July 2023, MilliporeSigma invested $25 million to add 98,000 square feet of manufacturing capability and lab space at its Kansas facility to produce cell culture media. In October 2023, the CDMO opened two mRNA manufacturing sites in Germany. And in December 2023, MilliporeSigma completed the second phase of its China Biologics Testing Center, adding 1,500 square meters of laboratory space in Shanghai. 

About the Author(s)

Millie Nelson

Editor, BioProcess Insider

Journalist covering global biopharmaceutical manufacturing and processing news and host of the Voices of Biotech podcast.

I am currently living and working in London but I grew up in Lincolnshire (UK) and studied in Newcastle (UK).

Got a story? Feel free to email me at [email protected]

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