Lateral flow membrane being produced in Merck’s Carrigtwohill plant which is set for a €36 million investment.

Huge investment for sci-tech company

A leading science and technology company is in the final stages of a €36 million expansion to help in the fight against Covid-19.

The investment will allow Merck, which employs more than 750 staff at its plant in Carrigtwohill, to double its output of lateral flow membrane, a key component in the rapid antigen tests for Covid-19.

The company also has plans for further expansion in the future and the additional investments will result in approximately 50 new jobs being created in Cork over the coming years.

The site in Carrigtwohill is the global Membrane Centre of Excellence for Merck 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 customer demand for this type of membrane has significantly increased since the onset of Covid-19, the company said.

Martin McAuliffe, Managing Director and Head of Cork Operations at Merck in Carrigtwohill said that the new expansion will enable the Cork site to more than double its capacity for lateral flow membrane production.

He said there will also be an additional multi-million euro investment in the company’s biotools department over the next five years.

He also said that 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,” said Mr McAuliffe.

Merck employs close to 58,000 people at its various plants around the world and generated sales of €17.5 billion in 66 countries last year.

Merck Cork is part of the life science division, dedicated to solving the toughest problems in life science by collaborating with the global scientific community.

The Cork plant in Carrigtwohill celebrated its 30th anniversary three yeas ago.