is the innovative prescription pharmaceuticals division of Merck, a global pharmaceutical and chemical group.
With headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, Merck Serono discovers, develops, manufactures and markets innovative small molecules and biological drugs to help patients suffering from conditions that do not yet have an adequate response.
Merck Serono offers state-of-the art products for oncology, multiple sclerosis, infertility, endocrine and metabolic disorders.
With an annual approximate investment of 1 billion euro in Research & Development, Merck Serono is committed to growing its business in specialized therapeutic areas mentioned above, as well as in new therapeutic areas, following the research on autoimmune and inflammatory diseases.
Merck Serono S.p.A., the Italian subsidiary of Merck Serono SA, was established in November 2007, following the merger between Merck Pharma S.p.A. and Industria Farmaceutica Serono S.p.A..
Merck Serono S.p.A. operates in Italy with 628 employees, divided between the research centre in Guidonia Montecelio, the production centre in Bari, the executive offices in Rome and the external operational work force.
Merck Serono S.p.A. also controls 100% of the Istituto di Ricerche Biomediche "Antoine Marxer" RBM S.p.A. in Colleretto Giacosa, near Ivrea, a major research centre with a staff of 180 employees, and Theramex S.p.A., a pharmaceutical company with a wide range of women's' health products, with a staff of 47 employees.
Thanks to the integration between commercial, production and research activities, Merck Serono S.p.A. is a pole of excellence, strategically important for the entire Group.
With the completion of the new laboratories assigned for the activities of Formulation Development and Analytical Methods for biotechnological products, the site in Guidonia strengthens its role as a centre of excellence in Biotechnology. What does this mean?
With the building of these new laboratories, we have integrated our Biotechnology profile of the R&D Centre in Guidonia Montecelio.
The site in Guidonia Montecelio is a centre of excellence due to its advanced infrastructure, the presence of researchers with a high level of know-how, and the services provided. The Centre, in fact, provides analytical and formulation support of Quality Control and stability studies on 23 biotech molecules and on approximately 15 synthetic molecules, making up such an important asset for Merck Serono on a global level as well as a strategic point of reference for the Italian industry.
What are your relations with local institutions and authorities? What type of support have you received?
The role of institutions and local authorities has been valuable for the success of the project. The local authorities realized the importance and seriousness of our proposal and managed the various bureaucratic aspects very efficiently. Thanks to the above said, we even managed to finish the whole project one month ahead of schedule.
In recent years the commitment of Merck Serono in Italy has increased so much that 60 million Euro have been invested in our country. How did these decisions come about, what are the strengths of Italy in the sector?
The Italian market is the 3rd largest in Europe and the 5th largest in the world in terms of market size and employees.
Italy has a strong culture in healthcare, excellent know-how, specialised Centres of Excellence with outstanding attention paid to innovation, and, from a political point of view, support bodies for pharmaceuticals, such as AIFA (the Italian Pharmaceutical Agency), a body totally dedicated to the evaluation and assessment of medicines and their entry into the country.
All these factors make the country attractive for Pharmaceutical Companies despite all the problems relevant to the absence of adequate measures to reward innovation.
What are your future plans in Italy? Do you think you will make new investments?
During a recent press briefing, Dr. Karl-Ludwig Kley, Chairman of the Executive Board of Merck KGaA, spoke of Merck Serono Italy in flattering terms: we are considered an absolute strong point for the Group. Our know-how, our propensity towards excellence and the quality of our infrastructure are highly appreciated. Obviously, we cannot make long-term predictions, but all of this certainly is an important prerequisite for any future investment in our Country.
What are the advantages or new opportunities that the Italian market can offer to the operators of your sector in next few years? What are the sectors with higher growth prospects?
The main advantage for Pharmaceutical Companies is the presence of an universalistic National Health Care System that allows the stabilisation of the market regardless of the economic situation.
The sections with higher growth prospects in the coming years are, in my opinion, that of innovative drugs as they are defined by the AIFA criteria, and that of Orphan Drugs targeted at very limited pathologies. Also an area that is surely of interest in the foreseeable future is that of therapies designed to improve the quality of life for people affected with chronic conditions.
From this point of view, I can say that the strategy of Merck Serono is absolutely in line with these trends. We are engaged in the research and development of innovative therapeutic solutions that will be able to meet the requirements and needs of those suffering from diseases for which there is still no adequate treatment: “Unmet needs met”, as our slogan effectively summarises our mission.
To learn more www.merckserono.it