PPD, Inc. has purchased Merck’s 130,000-sq.-ft. vaccine testing lab and related equipment in Wayne, PA and hired the 80 Merck employees who operate the facility. PPD will provide assay development and immunogenicity testing services to support Merck’s vaccine portfolio for five years.
PPD and Merck have also expanded their existing central lab service relationship. PPD will provide traditional central lab and sample storage services to Merck for its clinical development activities for five years.
The acquisition of Merck’s vaccine testing facility expands PPD’s global central lab business, adding vaccine and biologic testing, assay development and sample storage capabilities, according to a company statement. PPD plans to develop new technologies and assays to expand its immunochemistry and oncology vaccine testing services as well as biologics lab services.
“We believe strategic outsourcing is key to the future of R&D and represents an innovative approach to the challenges facing our pharmaceutical and biotechnology clients,” said Fred Eshelman, chief executive officer of PPD. “This collaboration with Merck represents a unique opportunity for us to acquire leading scientific talent and state-of-the-art facilities, expand an existing relationship with a long-time client and offer a new service line to other customers in the growing vaccine market.”
“Merck and PPD worked together during the past several months to develop a novel and robust approach to expand our long-standing and trusted relationship,” said Tony Ford-Hutchinson, senior vice president, Merck Research Labs. “We found a partner that was receptive to our business needs and brought practical solutions to ensure the continuity of our operations.” Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.