MilliporeSigma looks to keep up with the competition in new Wisconsin expansion
As Merck KGaA continues to boost its manufacturing presence in Europe, most recently in Ireland and France, the company’s US branch is not shying away from stateside expansion.
On Thursday, MilliporeSigma’s production facility in Verona, WI, near the state capitol of Madison, opened a new expansion on an existing site to produce highly potent APIs (HPAPIs). The new $65 million, 70,000 square-foot addition will look to bring 50 new jobs to the area, on top of the 350 that are employed already at the site.
The expansion has now doubled the square footage of the site, rounding out at 140,000 square feet, and includes six new labs that can handle single-digit nanogram material.
According to the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC), it authorized $200,000 in state income tax credits over the next three years, with the offer contingent upon the number of actual jobs created.
Matthias Bucerius, head of actives and formulation at MilliporeSigma, said the location has been manufacturing and developing compounds for over 30 years, and recently the company is looking for a greater opportunity with producing HPAPIs primarily for their usage in targeted therapies.
These compounds have cell-killing abilities at low doses and can result in reduced side effects for patients. They are used in novel cancer therapies, including antibody-drug conjugates (ADCs), which are changing the landscape of cancer treatments.
“There is an increasing demand for HPAPIs due to their effectiveness against cancer at lower doses and the trend towards more targeted therapeutics. Lower doses of these therapies reduce the negative side effects for patients who are taking on this critical fight,” said Dirk Lange, head of the life science services at Merck KGaA, in a statement.
But MilliporeSigma’s expansion comes at a time when Verona and the greater area are receiving greater attention from the manufacturing world.
In May, Arrowhead Pharmaceuticals announced it is constructing a new drug manufacturing facility in Verona that will have 125,000 square-foot laboratories and offices, as well as 160,000 square feet of manufacturing space, which also has $2.5 million in backing from the WEDC. And in 2021, Aldevron completed a renovation and expansion project in Madison as well. And with companies such as Catalent and Mallinckrodt nearby, Millipore is expanding amongst a growing pond.
However, Bucerius believes the company has several ways to separate itself from the pack. This includes embedding itself in the community through local volunteering programs and engagement opportunities. But Bucerius also said that with the company being a fully-fledged CDMO, it can have a multifaceted approach with several avenues such as mRNA production to synthetic lipids that can keep the company above the local competition.