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Healthcare, General

Life Science Healthcare News | July 2024

Germany’s healthcare sector is benefiting from major investments in new gene and cell therapy research and development sites. 

Wacker opens 100-million-euro mRNA competence center in Halle 

Wacker Biotech has opened a new mRNA competence center in Halle (Saale) to further upscale its support of innovative messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA) therapeutics. The new facility has several production lines that will have flexible control over production volume and process design. Active ingredients based on mRNA will be produced on a large scale at facility built at a cost of EUR 100 million. Some of the new capacity will be made available to the German government in order to supply its pandemic preparedness program to deploy vaccines quickly where necessary. 


Bayer and Berlin Charité partner to build new center for gene and cell therapies

Charité–Universitätsmedizin and Bayer AG have announced plans to build a cell and gene therapies (CGTs) center in Berlin. The joint project to bring therapies quickly to patients through the creation of a biotech ecosystem for innovative therapies is being financed and supported by the German government. Cell and gene therapies provide an alternative in scenarios where conventional therapies have failed or where no other effective treatment is currently available. The Berlin Center for Gene and Cell Therapies, as the new facility will be called, will also support start-ups in their CGT clinical development activities up to clinical trial II. Berlin Charité and Bayer will set up a joint public-private, non-profit company with limited liability for incubator purposes, with Berlin Charité and Bayer owning 67 percent and 33 percent stakes respectively. Berlin is home to a significant number of biomedical and healthcare sites that the new CGT hub will be embedded. Construction is set to begin at the 10-storey facility across 18,000 sqm in 2025. 


University spin-off develops bioreactor for scalable cell production

RWTH Aachen University spin-off BioThrust is developing a bionic bioreactor to bring stem cell therapy production to an industrial scale. Stem cell therapies are used to treat type one diabetes, multiple sclerosis, various forms of cancer, and numerous other diseases. The bioreactor’s innovative gassing technology makes use of an artificial lung to provide stress-free cultivation conditions for higher cell concentrations and quality. BioThrust claims that its goal is to provide a universal cell multiplication platform for high concentrations of therapeutically active cells that can be used from fundamental development in the university clinic to the industrial producer. The company recently received a seven-figure cash injection from deep tech seed investor Freigeist Capital. 


Merck invests EUR 300 million in Darmstadt advanced research center

Merck is investing more than EUR 300 million in building a Life Science "Advanced Research Center" in Darmstadt. Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz attended the laying of the foundation stone in April and emphasized the investment’s significance for Germany and Europe as important research locations. Research and development activities in the areas of antibodies, mRNA applications and other biotechnology processing and production solutions will be conducted at the site from 2027 onward. The investment at the facility, which will employ a staff of around 550, is part of Merck’s ongoing investment in the region that will rise to around EUR 1.5 billion by 2025. 


MSD establishes new European launch pad for healthcare innovation

Merck Sharp & Dohme (MSD) is introducing a new medtech financing program to support SMEs and start-ups in the early stages of innovative healthcare solutions development. Its IDEA Studios, an initiative led by the company’s Global Health Innovation fund and regional teams, will fund and collaborate with entrepreneurs and early-stage companies focused on developing transformative healthcare solutions. According to MSD, plans are afoot to invest USD 38 million in the APAC and Europe Markets over the next three years. Investment focal points include access to vaccinations and cancer therapies. MSD IDEA Studio Europe will also look for innovative ways to diagnose diseases at an earlier stage, monitor patients to optimize medication adherence and drive clinical trial recruitment. 


Bosch and Randox Laboratories to invest EUR 150 million in molecular diagnostics platform

Bosch and Randox Laboratories announced  to invest a combined EUR 150 million in the further development of its Vivalytic molecular diagnostics platform. One goal is to develop a test for blood poisoning. Each company is providing roughly equal amounts of EUR 75 million to develop sepsis tests. 


Merck invests EUR 180 million in Schnelldorf distribution center

Merck has completed the EUR 180 million expansion of its life science distribution center in Schnelldorf. The investment has added 25,000 sqm to the site, doubling the available floor space at the facility. The plant now has a new custom filing line and additional space for the delivery of products to labs and research facilities around the world. 




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