US drugmaker giant MSD launches production facilities in Singapore that will create new jobs

The syringe and vial packing section in MSD’s current manufacturing facility in Tuas. ST PHOTO: GAVIN FOO

SINGAPORE - US pharmaceutical giant MSD on Wednesday launched a new packaging facility and broke ground for a plant to manufacture new-generation inhaler medicine in Singapore.

The $280 million expansion at its multi-product manufacturing hub in Tuas is part of MSD's plan to invest $700 million in Singapore which started in 2020.

At the launch and ground-breaking ceremony in Tuas, Singapore's Minister for Trade and Industry, Mr Gan Kim Yong, said MSD's investment will create more than 100 local jobs, lifting its overall headcount here to more than 1,800.

The expansion will bring MSD's total investment in Singapore to more than $3 billion, he added.

The new packaging and sterile filling facility will support the production of vaccines and medicine here, including the company's cancer immunotherapy products, MSD said.

The new inhaler medicine facility, when ready in 2026, will manufacture next-generation inhaler devices for targeted administration of medicine.

Part of the total investment includes new technology to further the company's environmental sustainability goals, and modernisation of MSD's information technology infrastructure to digitalise its facilities here.

Mr Gan said Singapore has established itself as one of MSD's key manufacturing locations, producing seven out of MSD's top 10 products. Furthermore, the Republic is the only MSD site in Asia that manufactures immunotherapy products for cancer patients in Singapore and the Asia-Pacific region.

"Having a significant presence of a pharmaceutical giant like MSD in Singapore is a ringing endorsement of our biomedical ecosystem and advanced manufacturing capabilities," he said.

Building a globally competitive biomedical sector in Singapore is the result of careful planning and regulatory measures executed by the Government over the years, the minister said.

The sector contributes more than 3 per cent to Singapore's gross domestic product and manufactures more than $17 billion worth of products for global markets, Mr Gan said.

Nearly 9,000 workers are now employed in this sector, four times more than in 2000.

Mr Gan said MSD's new investments will inject a booster shot for Singapore's Manufacturing 2030 Vision to grow manufacturing by 50 per cent in 10 years.

Trade & Industry minister Gan Kim Yong (centre) at the ground-breaking ceremony. ST PHOTO: GAVIN FOO

MSD's new secondary packaging facility can produce more than 33 million vaccine units annually. The inhaler production facility will be MSD's sole manufacturing site for its new drugs for pulmonary arterial hypertension - a type of high blood pressure that affects the arteries in the lungs and the heart.

The minister said that expanding local vaccine manufacturing capabilities will enhance Singapore's ability to respond effectively and swiftly to future health emergencies.

"It will also fortify our region's defence against similar supply chain disruptions that we had faced during the global race to inoculate our populations against Covid-19 variants," he said.

Talking about the investment, Mr Robert Davis, the global chief executive and president of MSD, said: "What it represents is MSD's commitment to our partnership with Singaporeans and partnership to bring important medicines to the patients here who rely on it."

Mr Fernando Otero, associate vice-president of MSD's manufacturing division in Singapore, Ms Goh Wan Yee, senior vice-president and head of healthcare at the Economic Development Board, and Mr David Peacock, MSD's president for the Asia-Pacific region also attended the event.

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