Lab Canada

Merck Frosst R&D centre to close

Kirkland, QC – Merck & Co, based in Whitehouse Station, NJ, says it will close the Merck Frosst Centre for Therapeutic Research, located at the head office of its Canadian subsidiary in Kirkland, Québec, by the end of 2010.

The announcement is part of a larger announcement which details the latest phase of Merck’s global merger restructuring program. The company says the merger of Merck and Schering-Plough in 2009 prompted a review of all research and manufacturing facilities of the company across the world. Manufacturing and packaging operations at Merck’s Pointe-Claire facility is not affected by the announcement.

“The difficult decision to phase out the research facility in Kirkland represents one part of the company’s ongoing consolidation of its operations and research activities,” said Rich Tillyer, senior vice president, discovery and preclinical sciences, Merck Research Laboratories. “It does not detract from the important contributions made historically by research scientists at this site.”

There are currently 180 people employed at the Merck Frosst Centre for Therapeutic Research, and the company says that some employees will be offered new positions within its global research network.

“Merck remains committed to maintaining a strong presence in the life sciences and innovation sector in Québec and Canada, and will continue to invest in academic, biotechnology and clinical research collaborations to supplement and advance its internal research programs,” said Carlos Dourado, president of Merck in Canada.

As part of this commitment, the company says that over the next five years it will invest an additional $100 million in research and development collaborations with Québec-based companies and academic institutions. The company expects to begin making these investments this year.