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Globe EMD Serono Marks Opening of Billerica Facility


February 10, 2011 03:00 PM

In a photo provided by the company, Governor Deval Patrick (left) is given a tour of a new EMD Serono R&D facility by company senior vice president Steve Arkinstall (center) as two researchers look on.


Globe Staff

EMD Serono, the Massachusetts biopharmaceutical division Merck KGaA, held an official opening ceremony today for a new $65 million research-and-development facility in Billerica that will initially create about 100 new jobs.

Merck, a chemical and pharmaceutical giant headquartered in Germany, will now have four research hubs deployed around the globe, and the Billerica site will be the company's only R&D hub in the United States, the company said.

According to EMD Serono, the Billerica facility will be focused on developing oncology drugs as well as treatments for neurodegenerative diseases and infertility.

Governor Deval Patrick joined Fereydoun Firouz, president and chief executive of EMD Serono, among other company officials at the ceremony. The company made available an excerpt of Firouz's remarks.

"Today is a day to embrace the accomplishments that come from our work force," said Firouz, who is shown at right in a company photo. "We challenge ourselves every day and through that passion and perseverance, we have the ability to transform science and medicine."

The new 140,000-square-foot facility was built on a site that EMD Serono owns, and there is another research building adjacent to it. The older building has 60,000 square feet of space. With the opening of the new facility, EMD Serono said it will have a total of 200,000 square feet of research space in Billerica. When nearly 100 new employees are hired, EMD Serono's Billerica research facility will have a head count of about 350.

Last year, Merck acquired Millipore Corp., a Billerica company that provides equipment and services to the life sciences industry. Merck's EMD Serono division has 1,169 Massachusetts employees, and EMD Millipore has 1,559 Massachusetts employees, EMD Serono said.