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Merck Serono completes move to Germany

Closes Swiss headquarters to take up residence with parent company in Darmstadt

Merck KGaA HQ Darmstadt 

Merck Serono last week completed the relocation of its global headquarters from Switzerland to Germany as part of its wider restructuring plans.

The biopharma company, which was previously headquartered in Geneva, will now host its main operations in Darmstadt – the home of its parent group Merck KGaA.

The move was announced in April 2012 as part of a cost-cutting drive that Merck KGaA calls its 'Fit for 2018' programme to help the company cope with increased competition for key products, such as big selling multiple sclerosis (MS) treatment Rebif (interferon beta-1a), and a more challenging pharma market.

The closure of its Swiss site comes with the loss of more than 500 jobs, despite intensive negotiations with employee representatives. According to Merck, about 50 employees at Geneva have transferred to Darmstadt.

Merck's restructuring plans in Switzerland also affected its manufacturing operations in Coinsins, which will be relocated to Aubonne. This is expected to be completed in 2014, with about 80 redundancies.

In making the announcements last year Merck said it would support any affected employees who wanted to launch their own start-up biopharma company and the offer has so far seen the creation of Parkinson's disease-focused Prexton Therapeutics and the biomarker specialist Quartz Bio.

With the relocation of Merck Serono's main business to Germany, the company plans to expand its Darmstadt site over the next few years.

This has already started with the redesign of the building's F-block, which the company says is designed with an “open office concept” to encourage greater collaboration.

The opening of the new headquarters comes shortly Merck Serono's appointment of former chief operating officer Belén Garijo as CEO.

She replaces Stefan Oschmann who moves to a wider group role as a member of the board of Merck KGaA responsible for pharmaceuticals.

Article by
Thomas Meek

14th October 2013

From: Research, Sales

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