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Merck KGaA is expanding its R&D hub in the U.S.

Public Health Labs

Merck KGaA is expanding its R&D hub in the U.S.

The 145,000-sf addition will be built to meet LEED and WELL certification standards.


By John Caulfield, Senior Editor | February 14, 2019

EMD Serono, which is the name Merck KGaA operates under in the U.S. and Canada, is expanding its R&D facility in Billerica, Mass., one of four such life science facilities that the Germany-based corporation has worldwide. Image: EMD Serono

EMD Serono, an affiliate of Merck KGaA, the Darmstadt, Germany-based healthcare and life sciences company, is investing another $70 million to double the size of its research and development facility in Billerica, Mass., which opened in February 2011.

The 145,000-sf expansion on 47 acres is expected to break ground in the second quarter of this year, and be completed by the second quarter of 2021. The new building will accommodate 400 new and current R&D employees who will focus on advancing science in oncology, immuno-oncology, and immunology.

Billerica’s Planning Board approved the expansion, without protest, on February 12, when it also okayed a waiver of a formal traffic study as long as the company provides a traffic memorandum for peer review. Merck KGaA’s investment includes about $55 million in construction costs, and several million dollars for laboratories and equipment.

With this latest project, Merck KGaA will have invested more than $150 million in infrastructure and construction in the state of Massachusetts, and created more than 150 new jobs. That investment “is a testament to the state’s global leadership in life sciences,” says Travis McCready, President and CEO of the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center.

When it’s completed, the new building will include wet labs, office space, and a cafeteria. It will be built to meet LEED and WELL performance standards. (The existing facility is WELL certified.) The Building Team on this project includes PM Group (architect), INTEC (interior design), Erland Construction (CM), BR+A Consulting Engineers (mechanical and electrical engineer), and BSC Group (CE).

Billerica is one of 10 locations in Massachusetts where Merck KGaA employs more than 2,800 people. Billerica is also one of Merck KGaA’s four global R&D hubs, the others being in Germany, Japan, and China. Merck KGaA invests about 20% of its total annual sales in R&D.

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