We established a new Accelerator program in Nairobi with a focus on digital health. At the same time, the application period for the second edition of the program at the Innovation Center in Darmstadt was kicked off. This represents a milestone for the Merck Accelerator on its journey to becoming a global platform. At both locations, start-ups from the fields of healthcare, life science and performance materials will receive extensive support.
Stefan Oschmann took over as Chairman of the Executive Board. We owe our thanks to his predecessor Karl-Ludwig Kley, who held office since 2007, for fundamentally and successfully transforming Merck into a stronger, more profitable and more innovative company. Likewise, we thank Bernd Reckmann, who also retired from the Executive Board and was succeeded by Udit Batra and Walter Galinat.
We announced plans to build a new campus in Burlington, Massachusetts that will serve as a major hub for the North American Life Science business. As a premier global customer destination, the new campus will also house an M-Lab™ Collaboration Center – a state-of-the-art, shared, exploratory environment where our scientists and engineers can work together with customers to help solve their toughest life science challenges.
By 2018, we aim to become one of the leading suppliers of materials for organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs). For this purpose, a new production plant was inaugurated at the Darmstadt site after a construction period of 14 months. This has enabled a five-fold increase in our production capacity for OLED materials used in modern displays and lighting systems. The plant is one of the largest single investments Merck has made at the Darmstadt site in recent years.
We are at the threshold of an era in which people will reach the age of 100 and more – while enjoying good health. This is not just the new purpose of our Consumer Health business, but also relates to society as a whole. It is why we have launched the “WE100®” movement, within the context of which partnerships will be established with public and private organizations and concrete actions will be coordinated around the theme of living 100 healthy years.
We plan to invest more than € 50 million in a new packaging center of excellence at our pharmaceutical manufacturing site in Darmstadt. The focus will be on our Glucophage®, Concor® and Euthyrox® brands in order to meet increasing patient needs in the areas of diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and thyroid disorders. Operations are scheduled to begin in mid-2018.
A curious person is more likely to bring an idea to life at work – 85% of employees in Germany, the United States and China agree with this statement. This is one of the many findings of the first global curiosity study by Merck, for which we investigated the importance of curiosity at the workplace and surveyed more than 3,000 full-time employees.
An estimated 260 million people worldwide suffer from the insidious tropical disease schistosomiasis. The infection rate is especially high among children and the consequences are particularly serious. Schistosomiasis stunts growth, causes learning disabilities, and leads to anemia. As part of our social responsibility, we have been supporting the World Health Organization (WHO) since 2007 in combating the disease. Our praziquantel tablets are the most effective treatment to date and is well tolerated.
According to a survey by the international scientific publication “Science”, we rank 11th among the top 20 employers in the global biopharmaceutical industry. This is not only the third year in a row that we have been included in the top employer list, it also marks an improvement from 17th place in 2015. We achieved particularly good scores for the criteria: ‘employees treated with respect’, ‘work culture values aligned’ and ‘has loyal employees’.
Merck also moved up the ranks in the Access to Medicine Index, from sixth to fourth place. The Access to Medicine Foundation recognized our access-related targets that are aligned with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. In terms of capacity-building and in intellectual property management transparency, we were the leading company in the index.