Gone to the dogs? Shire sells vaccine plant to Merck Animal Health

By Dan Stanton

- Last updated on GMT

Image: damedeeso
Image: damedeeso

Related tags Animal Health

Shire has sold the former Baxalta vaccine facility in Austria to Merck Animal Health for an undisclosed fee.

Shire confirmed the Krems, Austria facility – located about 50km northwest of Vienna – was put up for sale in January​, after ongoing work at the site was suspended in November, and earlier this month Merck (known as MSD outside North America) announced it had picked up the plant for its Animal Health business.

The site provides Merck Animal Health “additional manufacturing resources and advanced technology platforms” ​to meet growing demand for its animal vaccines, Joseph Morrissey, senior vice president of operations at the firm said.

Merck did not respond to questions sent by this publication about how it intends to convert a human vaccine facility into an animal vaccine plant, but said in a statement renovations are to begin straight away.

Financial details have not been disclosed.

The site once manufactured a number of Baxter International's vaccines​, including Influject. But after the vaccine unit was sold to Pfizer in 2014​, Baxalta – fresh from its spin-out from Baxter​ – said in June 2015 it intended to begin manufacturing an undisclosed blood clotting drug at Krems in 2018, and announced it was investing €138m to expand and modernise the site.

The site was added to Shire’s manufacturing network following its $32bn acquisition of Baxalta in June 2016.

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