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Merck Animal Health to expand DeSoto operations

Company to invest $100 million in DeSoto, Kan., manufacturing operations, including facility expansion.

Merck Animal Health, the global animal health business unit of Merck & Co. Inc., announced June 29 an investment of $100 million in facility expansion and enhancement efforts at its U.S. manufacturing site in DeSoto, Kan.

According to the announcement, investments to the site include a technological expansion of the vaccine production facility, which will come on line this year, plus an additional investment of $66 million that will provide for added enhancement capabilities to be realized over the coming years.

The DeSoto site develops and manufactures a broad portfolio of vaccines for swine, cattle and equines, with key technologies in research and development, manufacturing and quality operations, Merck Animal Health said. Particularly, the site houses large-scale fermentation and cell culture, blending and filling operations and packaging, along with monoclonal antibody manufacturing for companion animals.

“Merck Animal Health continues to be a strong source of innovation and growth in Kansas and is a leading force in vaccine production and research in the Animal Health Corridor,” Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly said. “The upgrades to these facilities will lead to more advancements in animal health and reinforce the importance of supporting biotechnology companies in the state.”

Pamela Stoops, executive director of DeSoto operations at Merck Animal Health, added, “We are excited about the opportunity to bring capital improvements, expansion in our manufacturing capacity and capabilities and advanced technology to our DeSoto facility, thereby strengthening our footprint in the state and increasing our ability to fulfill customer demand for our portfolio of products.

"Our Merck Animal Health business is making great strides in building our business for the future,” Stoops said. "That means we need to ensure our place as a leader in animal health with a substantial and sustainable U.S. facility footprint, which includes investment and expansion in our key facilities. As a leader in delivering innovative pharmaceuticals and vaccines to advance animal health and meet customer needs, this investment reflects our commitment in producing a range of animal health vaccines and pharmaceuticals for animal health diseases."

Because of the company’s strong growth, broad product portfolio and enhanced manufacturing capacity and capabilities, Merck Animal Health said it continues to explore ways in the U.S. and globally to improve existing facilities with upgraded equipment or technology, further expansion of its facilities with advanced technology platforms and increases in capacity and capabilities in manufacturing to meet the rapidly growing demand and flexibility for its vaccine and biologic products.

“We continually seek new ways to improve and enhance our production and manufacturing capacity at our facilities to meet the growing needs of our animal health customers,” said Scott Bormann, senior vice president, Merck Animal Health North America commercial operations. “Our investment in DeSoto positions us for strong long-term growth and enables us to remain a valued partner to our loyal customers through reliability and responsiveness to their needs.”

Merck Animal Health noted that it continues to invest in expanding its manufacturing and distribution facilities in Millsboro, Del.; Ames, Iowa; Worthington, Minn., and Elkhorn and Omaha, Neb.

The company said it "strongly supports the responsible use of enhanced vaccine and pharmaceutical production platforms to improve and maintain the health of animals as well as discovery of new tools to prevent, treat and, in some cases, even eradicate diseases."

For more than a century, Merck, a leading global biopharmaceutical company, has been inventing for life, bringing forward medicines and vaccines for many of the world’s most challenging diseases. Merck Animal Health is present in more than 50 countries, while its products are available in some 150 markets.

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