A science and technology company in Cork has announced it is in the final stages of a €36 million expansion in response to the current pandemic.
Merck Cork in Carrigtwohill is part of the life science division, dedicated to solving the toughest problems in life science by collaborating with the global scientific community.
The expansion of its manufacturing capacity is in response to global customer demand for Merck’s lateral flow membrane, which has significantly increased since the Covid-19 pandemic with the expansion allowing the facility to double its output of lateral flow membrane annually.
The site in Carrigtwohill is the global Membrane Centre of Excellence for Merck, a centre of excellence for membranes, chromatography and analytical devices used by customers in the pharma and biopharma sectors for research and manufacturing applications, and produces millions of feet of all types of membrane on an annual basis.
The lateral flow membrane is the key component in rapid diagnostic antigen tests, typically used in pregnancy tests and tests for infectious diseases like dengue fever, ebola and malaria.
The membrane is also a key component in the rapid antigen tests for Covid-19 and the customer demand for this type of membrane has significantly increased since the onset of the virus.
Managing Director and Head of Cork Operations at Merck in Carrigtwohill, Martin McAuliffe, said, “The new K2 expansion will enable our Cork site, which is the Merck global Membrane Centre of Excellence, to more than double the capacity of our lateral flow membrane, which is a key component in Covid-19 rapid diagnostic kits.”
The company also has plans for further expansion in the future and the additional investments will result in approximately 50 new jobs being created at the facility that already employs over 750 staff.
“Furthermore, there will be an additional multi-million euro investment in our Biotools department over the next five years. The Biotools department makes filtration and medical devices for the pharma industry, some of which are used in vaccine production.
“Merck is proud to play a leading role in the global fight against Covid-19. We are involved in over 50 vaccine candidates, more than 35 diagnostic solutions and over 20 therapeutic solutions which use the latest in cutting edge technology,” Mr McAuliffe said.