Merck Millipore, the life science tools business of German drugmaker Merck KGaA and known as EMD Millipore in the US, has moved its Yokohama technical centre to an expanded €1.3bn ($1.7) biomanufacturing training facility in Tokyo.
The new training centre is the ninth Merck has set up and – according to Merck – is designed to let customers test its range of single-use biomanufacturing systems and provide tech support for Japanese developers.
CEO Udit Batra said: “We recognize that our customers in Japan face tremendous pressure to reduce development costs and identify production efficiencies.
“The new BSTC [training centre] is designed to recreate an actual manufacturing environment allowing customers to operate equipment, evaluate processes and conduct training.”
This was echoed by spokeswoman Susan Alesina who told BioPharma-Reporter.com "Merck Millipore uses best practices to apply our technologies globally. These best practices are rooted in good science and past experience with a proven track record of leading to robust implementations. We will adapt these best practices to particular constraints of the clients process. The same holds for Japan."
She also confirmed that the site has been operational since July and is due to open official on September 4.
Merck Millipore’s Japanese business is grouped with Africa and Australasia as part of its rest of the world (ROW) market which, as detailed in second quarter financials announced earlier this month, saw sales decline 7.9% in the second quarter to €59m.
However, the decline reflected negative currency effects rather than a business slowdown according to Merck, which said: “As a result of significant currency headwinds of –7.9%, especially relative to the Japanese yen, sales in the Rest of World region declined.”
Instead, Merck said its Millipore unit had achieved organic growth in the second quarter in all of the geographic regions in which it operates - ROW, Europe, North America and Emerging markets - the latter of which includes Asian countries other than Japan.
The strength of the Euro against the yen has impacted Merck Millipore’s ROW business for some time. In 2013 revenue for each quarter was lower than the comparable periods in 2012 due – according to the firm – to negative currency impacts.