EMD Serono, Inc., a subsidiary of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, announced today the continued expansion of the company’s presence in the United States, resulting in an estimated 20% increase in EMD Serono’s employee base from last July to the end of 2014.

“The US represents one of the fastest growing markets for our company,” said Annalisa Jenkins, Head of Global Drug Development and Medical. “Strengthening our presence in the US is central to our ability to deliver innovation and value to our patients and customers. By expanding our footprint within the Boston life sciences cluster of technology and talent, we significantly enhance our competitive position in the US and globally.”

The expansion will primarily take place at the site in Billerica, Massachusetts, which is being renamed the “EMD Serono Research & Development Institute.” The renaming reflects the full scope of work that will take place in Billerica, from early stage drug discovery research through to clinical development and medical, and reinforces EMD Serono’s commitment to discover and bring to market new treatments in key therapeutic areas.

In recent years, EMD Serono has invested more than $75 million in a new state-of-the-art research facility in Massachusetts. The expansion of the company’s drug development organization in the US marketplace is another strong signal of EMD Serono’s commitment to be closer to customers and ensure a stronger scientific and commercial profile in this critical pharmaceutical market.

James Hoyes, President of EMD Serono, added: “The Greater Boston area remains one of the top locations for state-of-the-art drug development. Here we can attract and retain best-in-class talent in the biopharma and life sciences industry. We are confident that by increasing hiring in the US, we can continue to foster innovation and a culture anchored in new possibilities.”

EMD Serono has further bolstered its US presence with recent strategic appointments of leadership within global functional areas residing at either its Rockland or Billerica sites, including the heads of three global Research and Early Development platforms; Immuno-Oncology, Immunology and Neurology. Additionally, the heads of global business franchises, including the head of the business franchise NDD, and various other strategic leaders within the global operations, global medical teams, global development and other global group functions are now based in the US. The presence of these leadership roles in a strategic region such as the US is one signal of the overall commitment to growth of the EMD Serono global pharmaceutical footprint.

The company’s growth in the Boston area will support the advancement of its pipeline and an ability to build partnerships with academia and the biotech sector, while enhancing access to talent across the R&D continuum. The company is ongoing in building its expertise in the area of oncology, immuno-oncology and immunology, in addition to further strengthening its solid market position in the therapeutic area of multiple sclerosis. Globally, the pharma division of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany has four R&D hubs, in Boston, MA; Darmstadt, Germany; Beijing, China; and Tokyo, Japan.