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Life Science Business of Merck Breaks Ground on Company’s First Lateral Flow Membrane Production Facility in the United States

News Release

  • New facility to manufacture the company’s Hi-Flow™ Plus lateral flow membrane used in rapid diagnostic test kit manufacturing, including Covid-19
  • Facility supported by €121 million U.S. Government contract award
  • Supports strategy to add physical capacity and expand regional network in the United States

Later Flow Membrane Production FacilityDarmstadt, Germany, 18 July, 2022 – The Life Science business of Merck, a leading science and technology company, today broke ground at its Sheboygan, Wisconsin site, for the company’s first lateral flow membrane production facility in the United States. Lateral flow membranes are a key component in rapid diagnostic test kits for a variety of applications, including Covid-19 testing. The new facility is supported by a €121 million contract award from the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD), on behalf of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

“Our purpose is to positively impact life and health with science, and today’s ground-breaking exemplifies this commitment by adding physical capacity and expanding our regional network to meet the growing needs of our customers and ensure supply chain security,” said Matthias Heinzel, Member of the Executive Board of Merck and CEO Life Science. “This new, state-of-the-art facility will support the surge in demand experienced by our global in-vitro diagnostic manufacturing customers.”

“From COVID-19 rapid testing to cancer therapies, the work of the Life Science business does help promote the health and safety of our families and communities while creating good jobs for hardworking Wisconsinites, and I am glad to be celebrating their success today,” said Governor Tony Evers. “In addition to creating 60 new jobs in Sheboygan, this new facility will provide a major step forward in expanding domestic diagnostic testing as the company’s first lateral flow membrane production facility in the U.S., ensuring our state and country are ready to tackle any public health crisis that comes our way now and into the future.”

Once built, the lateral flow membrane facility will be the Life Science business’ first facility in the United States capable of producing diagnostic-grade membrane. Its location further supports the company’s competitive market advantage with improved supply security and reduced lead times for global customers. The lateral flow membrane production line in Sheboygan complements the global capacity network of the Life Science business sector of Merck by adding redundant capabilities to its two production lines in Cork, Ireland, thereby mitigating supply chain risks.

“This new facility will expand much-needed access of critical raw materials to the world’s most sophisticated diagnostic manufacturers. Our best-in-class lateral flow membranes provide the quality and consistency necessary as manufacturers prepare for new regulations for in-vitro diagnostics and medical devices,” said Jean-Charles Wirth, Head of Science and Lab Solutions, Life Science, Merck.

Hi-Flow Plus™ Lateral flow membrane enables reproducible results due to its consistent quality and optimized properties. The rapid point-of-care test kits developed by the company’s customers are used for a variety of applications, including infectious disease testing (e.g., Covid-19, HIV, influenza, malaria), as well as pregnancy testing, biomarker detection, drug testing, food safety, and animal health.

The Life Science business sector of Merck is continuing to invest in products and technologies across its portfolio that are key to manufacturing novel therapies, vaccines, and diagnostics. All expansions and investments are part of an ambitious, multi-year program to increase the industrial capacity and capabilities of the Life Science business sector to support the growing global demand for lifesaving medications and to make significant contributions to public health. Recent announcements have been made in Verona, Wisconsin, USA; Jaffrey, New Hampshire, USA; Danvers, Massachusetts, USA; Carlsbad, California, USA; Cork, Ireland; Wuxi, China; Darmstadt, Germany; Buchs, Switzerland; Molsheim, France.

About Merck

Merck, a leading science and technology company, operates across healthcare, life science and electronics. Around 60,000 employees work to make a positive difference to millions of people’s lives every day by creating more joyful and sustainable ways to live. From advancing gene-editing technologies and discovering unique ways to treat the most challenging diseases to enabling the intelligence of devices – the company is everywhere. In 2021, Merck generated sales of € 19.7 billion in 66 countries.

Scientific exploration and responsible entrepreneurship have been key to Merck’s technological and scientific advances. This is how Merck has thrived since its founding in 1668. The founding family remains the majority owner of the publicly listed company. Merck holds the global rights to the Merck name and brand. The only exceptions are the United States and Canada, where the business sectors of Merck operate as EMD Serono in healthcare, MilliporeSigma in life science, and EMD Electronics.

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