Merck restructures to strengthen CDMO business

By Jane Byrne

- Last updated on GMT

© GettyImages/Richard Drury
© GettyImages/Richard Drury

Related tags Merck mRNA Monoclonal antibodies Antibody drug conjugates Merck kgaa CDMO Contract manufacturing Contract research organisations Restructuring

Darmstadt, Germany headquartered, Merck KGaA, is restructuring its life sciences business.

Last week, it outlined how its existing Contract Development and Manufacturing Organization (CDMO) and contract testing services will be consolidated into one organization, Life Science Services (LSS) focused on traditional and novel modalities, along with the respective sales and marketing, research and development, manufacturing, and supply chain operations.

The CDMO service business covers traditional modalities such as monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) and high-potency active pharmaceutical ingredients (HP-APIs), novel modalities such as antibody drug conjugates (ADCs) and viral and gene therapies (VGTs), and its mRNA offering, an R&D area that was boosted by the acquisition of AmpTec last year and is set to further strengthened through the pending acquisition of the Indianapolis headquartered CDMO, Exelead, announced last month. 

Dirk Lange, formerly of KBI Biopharma, will head up newly merged Merck KGaA unit

The new LSS business unit will be led by Dirk Lange, who brings over 20 years of experience in life science client services organizations to this role. He has an extensive background in clinical and commercial operations across multiple modalities, quality remediation, supply chain, and third-party operations, said Merck. 

Lange was, up to joining Merck, CEO of North Carolina-based KBI Biopharma, a CDMO providing integrated drug development and biomanufacturing services, and CEO of Selexis SA, a cell line development company.

Before returning to the US in 2016, Lange held leadership positions in biopharma companies throughout Europe, including Novartis Biologics, Sandoz Oncology Injectables, and Rentschler Biopharma.

Reagents, lab instruments

The German group is also combining the research solutions and applied solutions business units into one organization, Science and Lab Solutions (SLS), “to provide a more seamless experience to customers in the pharma and biotech, industrial and testing, academic and government, as well as diagnostics sectors.”

The SLS portfolio includes reagents, consumables, devices, instruments, software, and services for scientific discovery, in addition to lab water instruments, consumables and services, microbiology and biomonitoring products, test assays, analytical reagents, and flow cytometry kits and instruments. That unit will be led by Jean-Charles Wirth, currently head of applied solutions at Merck.

Meanwhile, Merck said its Process Solutions (PS) business unit will continue to be led by Andrew Bulpin. That unit is focused on optimizing pharma manufacturing, consists of filtration devices, chromatography resins, single-use assemblies and systems, processing chemicals and excipients. 

In terms of whether any job losses were pending as a result of the restructuring exercise, a spokesperson for Merck KGaA told BioPharma-Reporter:  "While there might be areas where efficiencies can be leveraged, we see a lot of growth opportunities for both internal and external candidates for the Life Science business sector overall."

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