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EMD Serono Announces Planned Investment of $50 Million in Research Center in Massachusetts

ROCKLAND, Mass., April 16 /PRNewswire/ -- Merck Serono and its US affiliate EMD Serono, Inc., both part of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, announced today a planned expansion of EMD Serono's US presence with an anticipated investment of $50 million at its Billerica facility northwest of Boston, Massachusetts. The company anticipates that this investment will create more than 100 new jobs in Massachusetts.

The investment will support the construction of a center of excellence in discovery, creating critical mass in research with a common goal of finding new treatments for unmet medical needs.

"This announcement reflects Merck KGaA's strong commitment to expand EMD Serono and anchor our US operations in Massachusetts," said Elmar Schnee, Member of the Executive Board Merck KGaA and Head of Pharmaceuticals. "We recognize the significant value of augmenting our research capabilities in Boston-a region with tremendous life-sciences influence not only across the US, but also globally."

Once complete, the new site will accommodate approximately 200 scientists with expertise in cancer biology, cancer immunotherapy, oncogene signaling, manufacturing cell lines, medicinal chemistry, molecular modeling, protein engineering, and therapeutic antibodies, across the research areas of cancer and fertility, as well as approximately 50 employees in Technical Operations who specialize in process development and protein production.

The company's protein production facility in Billerica, which manufactures products for early stage clinical testing, is a significant reason why the site was selected for expansion; the close proximity of protein production to research drives collaborative interactions and supports the rapid transition from research to manufacturing.

"This investment demonstrates the value of our US operations as a crucial component of the global organization's long-term success," says Fereydoun Firouz, CEO and President of EMD Serono, Inc. "We are committed to growing our footprint in Massachusetts and the US, as we fuel the future of the organization by expanding on our discovery efforts and driving our pipeline forward, to ultimately make a difference in patients' lives."

Construction at the new site will begin early next year and is expected to be complete in 2010. Upon completion, the total square footage of the Billerica Campus will be approximately 210,000 square feet, including more than 160,000 square feet of lab space.

"We will harness the power of our scientific expertise and understanding of disease biology, and leverage the significant amount of academic and healthcare resources available to us in nearby Boston, to further strengthen our dedication to finding new and innovative treatments that improve the quality of life for people living with serious diseases," says Bernhard Kirschbaum, head of global research for Merck Serono.

The US headquarters of EMD Serono will remain in Rockland. The company will strengthen its leadership position in its current therapeutic areas of Neurodegenerative Diseases and Endocrinology, and build the necessary infrastructure to support an increase in US clinical trials, as well as commercial growth in new areas of expertise, including cancer and autoimmune/inflammatory diseases.

Additionally, EMD Serono is one of the first biopharmaceutical companies in Massachusetts to announce a significant investment in the Commonwealth since Governor Deval Patrick proposed the Life Sciences Initiative in May 2007, a $1B investment supporting the biopharmaceutical industry.

"I am delighted that EMD Serono has decided to expand in Billerica," said Governor Patrick. "The region's tremendous talent and resources will now be at EMD Serono's disposal in their work to improve the quality of life for people living with serious diseases. Today's announcement exemplifies the value of the Life Sciences Initiative in encouraging economic development and job growth throughout Massachusetts."

Importantly, the Life Sciences Initiative encourages life sciences industry leaders, such as EMD Serono, to invest, stimulate and strengthen the economy in the Commonwealth.

"I would like to thank Governor Patrick for his unwavering commitment to strengthening Massachusetts' reputation as a global leader in science and medicine," says Firouz. "The partnership and commitment of Governor Patrick, Senate President Therese Murray, and Speaker of the House Salvatore DiMasi to make the Life Sciences Initiative a reality has been the foundation of the overall life sciences development plan that will help ensure that Massachusetts' existing life sciences companies stay and thrive in the state, and that new life sciences companies come to Massachusetts to further enhance our position at the forefront of healthcare."

About EMD Serono, Inc.

EMD Serono, Inc., an affiliate of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, is a leader in the US biopharmaceutical arena, integrating cutting-edge science with unparalleled patient support systems to improve people's lives. The company has strong market positions in neurodegenerative diseases, with Rebif(R) (interferon beta-1a), as well as in endocrinology, with Saizen(R) (somatropin (rDNA origin) for injection), Serostim(R) (somatropin (rDNA origin) for injection) and Zorbtive(TM) (somatropin (rDNA origin) for injection). EMD Serono is a leader in fertility treatments, with Gonal-f(R) (follitropin alpha for injection), Luveris(R) (lutropin alfa for injection) and Ovidrel(R) Prefilled Syringe (choriogonadotropin alpha injection). With a clear focus on the patient and a leadership presence in the biopharmaceutical industry, EMD Serono's US footprint continues to grow, with more than 850 employees around the country and fully integrated commercial, clinical and research operations in the company's home state of Massachusetts.

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About Merck KGaA

Merck is a global pharmaceutical and chemical company with total revenues of EUR 7.1 billion in 2007, a history that began in 1668, and a future shaped by 30,968 employees in 60 countries. Its success is characterized by innovations from entrepreneurial employees. Merck's operating activities come under the umbrella of Merck KGaA, in which the Merck family holds an approximately 70% interest and free shareholders own the remaining approximately 30%. In 1917 the U.S. subsidiary Merck & Co. was expropriated and has been an independent company ever since.

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SOURCE EMD Serono, Inc.
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