Merck Animal Health (formerly Intervet/Schering-Plough Animal Health) is expanding its Netherlands vaccine manufacturing unit at its Biosciences Center Boxmeer campus, which will result in a doubling of the capacity of its Tissue Culture Department, one of the departments where antigens for viral and parasitological vaccines are manufactured for international markets.

The $18 million investment, which is scheduled to be complete by early 2013, has been designed to operate with optimal efficiency and takes into account the anticipated globally growing demand for veterinary vaccines. In addition, the increase of the manufacturing capacity that will be realized anticipates for large-scale emergency production of veterinary vaccines when extensive amounts are needed within a short time period such as during outbreaks of emerging diseases.

The Tissue Culture Department Boxmeer is an EU-GMP licensed facility and produces viral and parasitological antigens that are used as active components of veterinary vaccines. The department specializes in complex biotechnological production processes that require high flexibility, using roller bottles, cell factories and other suitable cell and virus culture and purification systems. In 2010, the department produced 12 different antigens, totaling almost 300 million vaccine doses for cattle, horses, dogs, cats, fish and swine.