Merck Serono, a division of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, announced today plans to strengthen its global research and development (R&D) capabilities by establishing a global R&D center in Beijing, China. Merck Serono is planning to invest more than 150 Million EUR and create more than 200 new qualified jobs over the next four years to set up the China R&D center and conduct R&D activities in China. "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 healthcare options," said Elmar Schnee, President of Merck Serono. "We are committed to investing in areas that can help China to address some of its public health needs that currently are not met." "China is a country with talented scientists and high-quality research," added Bernhard Kirschbaum, Executive Vice President, Research and Development for Merck Serono. "We will recruit more R&D talent in China and build a world-class organization in China that will extend our global R&D expertise and capabilities." The China R&D organization will become one of the key R&D hubs for Merck Serono worldwide. Key hubs so far are Germany, Switzerland and the United States. The China team will lead drug development for China and other Asian countries, for local clinical trials as well as for the participation in global clinical trials. The team also will ensure the management of collaborations with research institutions in China and continue to look for partnerships with local academic institutions and companies. Research activities conducted in the China R&D center will mainly focus on biomarker research including pharmacogenomics and bioanalytics activities. Merck Serono already has some research collaborations in China and plans to further develop its collaboration network and build its R&D strategy on more innovation opportunities by tapping into the Chinese scientific expertise. Merck Serono China currently employs more than 1,000 persons nationwide. Merck Serono China offers a portfolio of innovative medicines, including the division's leading brands serving patients with cancer (Erbitux(R)), multiple sclerosis (Rebif(R)), infertility (Gonal-f(R)), endocrine and metabolic disorders (Saizen(R)), as well as cardiometabolic diseases (Concor(R), Euthyrox(R)).