Merck KGaA to open new cancer drug facility
30 August 2006 00:00 in Pharmaceutical Company Restructures
Merck KGaA, the German pharmaceutical company, has announced it is to open a new manufacturing facility to produce the "latest generation" of biological active ingredients to be used in the treatment of cancer.
The new plant will be located at the company's existing headquarters in Darmstadt and will cost approximately 190 million euros (128 million pounds) to build ? the second largest investment the company has ever made.
Merck says the new plant will enable it to manufacture Erbitux, the company's best-selling pharmaceutical product used to treat colorectal and head and neck cancer. Currently, the drug is produced on behalf of Merck KGaA by ImClone Systems and Boehringer Ingelheim.
Elmar Schnee, the member of Merck KGaA's board responsible for pharmaceuticals, commented: "Merck has made important contributions in the fight against cancer through our own research and successful alliances."
"With Erbitux, we have taken a major step into this growth market. With our own production plant, we will be able to ensure a long-term, rapid, sufficient and high-quality supply of our cancer drugs," he added.
Last week, NICE announced it would not recommend Erbitux for the treatment of bowel cancer on the NHS.
The Bowel Cancer Campaign's Lynn Faulds Wood told BBC Radio 4's Today programme that the decision was "cruel", although NICE chief executive Andrew Dillon explained it was a "very difficult" decision, in a recent interview on Channel 4 News.
Erbitux was recently approved to treat head and neck cancer by the Scottish Medicines Consortium.© Adfero Ltd
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