FRANKFURT (AP) -- German drugmaker Merck KGaA said Monday the company plans to invest euro150 million ($225 million) in a global research and development center in Beijing for its Serono drugs division.
Merck, based in Darmstadt, said the center would create more than 200 new jobs over the next four years.
"The creation of the China R&D center marks a new milestone in Merck Serono's commitment to China, where there is a rising demand for more health care options," Elmar Schnee, a Merck board member responsible for pharmaceuticals said in a statement.
"We are committed to investing in areas that can help China to address some of its public health needs that currently are not met," he said.
The company said it will recruit researchers in China and that the organization there would become one of the key R&D hubs for Merck Serono worldwide, working closely with other R&D centers in Germany, Switzerland and the United States.
Merck said its Beijing team will lead drug development for China and other Asian countries, administer local clinical trials, and also participate in global clinical trials. The new center will also ensure the management of collaborations with research institutions in China and continue to look for partnerships with local academic institutions and companies, Merck said.
Merck in Germany is not related to the company of the same name in the U.S.
Shares of Merck were 2.3 percent higher at euro65.70 in Frankfurt morning trading.