Merck Animal Health (MSD Animal Health outside the USA and Canada), formerly known as Intervet/Schering-Plough Animal Health, has opened an expansion of a vaccine manufacturing unit at its Elkhorn Biotechnology Excellence Center (25 August).
This $13.5 million expansion provides Merck Animal Health with an USDA-approved facility and will meet all Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) requirements to ensure that animal vaccine manufacturing takes place at the highest quality to support sales to 52 different countries around the world. This state-of-the-art facility and equipment will help assure that the Nebraska operations is on the leading edge of vaccine manufacturing in the entire industry.
The Elkhorn project expands the existing aseptic filling capacity for liquid and lyophilized animal biological products. It consists of:
• 6,200 sqft renovated and new production space,
• 2,500 sqft new warehouse space and
• 1,300 sqft new technical support space.
• Two integrated vaporous hydrogen peroxide disinfection chambers, a novelty for the United States.
“Animal health is an important part of Merck’s business going forward and the company is committed to the strategic development of the animal health business. By addressing the increasing global need for high-quality, high-volume veterinary vaccine manufacturing capacity, we continue to deliver to the promise to our customers to make Merck Animal Health a best-in-class global animal health leader,” said John T. McCubbins, PhD, Senior Vice President, Animal Health Manufacturing.
Ernest Kontor, PhD, Senior Director Biologicals US & Pacific Region, Global Supply Chain Animal Health, added, “The investment in the extension of the Filling Department here in Elkhorn is of significant importance as it demonstrates the commitment of Merck towards the Elkhorn Biotechnology Excellence Center as a strategic site within our global Animal Health network.”
To address the specific regional needs for veterinary medicines, Merck Animal Health operates manufacturing sites in various countries distributed over 5 continents. The Elkhorn Biotechnology Excellence Center is an important site in the company’s manufacturing network. At the site, advanced biotechnology is used for fermentation, bioreactor, roller bottles, lyophylization and downstream processes. The company markets more than 350 licensed vaccines of which over 50 are manufactured in Elkhorn. The company continuously invests in its operations to accommodate growth and to ensure that it meets GMP and other standards as well as the most stringent environmental requirements.
The site has approximately 250 employees, and with more than 40 percent of these having a higher professional or university education, it is a center of excellence with strong links between R&D and manufacturing as well as with its logistics center in Omaha, NE. The site develops and produces vaccines for companion animals (dogs, cats and horses) and production animals (farmed fish, cattle, swine and poultry).