Success Stories

Bio-pharmaceutical giant, Merck & Co. Inc. (MSD) maintains strong roots in Switzerland and continues to expand and grow in both Lucerne and Zurich

MSD in Lucerne, Switzerland

Source: MSD Merck

Canton Lucerne – With $48B in global Revenue (2020), Merck & Co., Inc. (a.k.a. MSD Merck Sharpe & Dohme) is a world-class, research-intensive bio-pharmaceutical company. Founded over 125 years ago in the United States, MSD is present in 140 countries with 74,000 employees as of 2020.  

MSD’s Swiss Branch opened in 1963 and through growth and success currently functions as the company’s European Headquarters (EMEA).  With over 1,000 employees from more than 56 nations in four sites in Lucerne and one site in Zurich, MSD continues to be recognized and certified as “Top Employer Switzerland”.  

“Switzerland is a very innovative environment in which the pharmaceutical industry plays an important role. We recognize the opportunities that Lucerne offers as a growing environment for the biopharmaceutical industry as well as the high stability of a central location in Europe. Switzerland is central to the company’s European strategy as home to our European headquarters, a manufacturing division, and a very big logistics hub.”

Ans Heirman, Managing Director, MSD Switzerland

The bio-pharma company has one of the largest clinical research programs worldwide. As of November 2021, MSD Switzerland is conducting 34 clinical trials for which the needed drugs are manufactured at our research and development site in Schachen [Lucerne]. MSD is also manufacturing its newest oncology product in Lucerne.

Its business activities are subdivided in the two divisions, Human Health and Animal Health. MSD Human Health covers a broad range of biopharmaceuticals with areas of research and development focused on Oncology and Immuno-Oncology as well as vaccines to prevent diseases.

In addition, MSD is conducting research in the area of infectious diseases to find new therapeutic approaches for antibiotic resistance, HIV/Aids and Hepatitis C and infections caused by bacteria or fungi. Further research focuses include immunology (auto-immune diseases) as well as cardio-metabolic diseases and Diabetes. MSD has a legacy in contributing to major public health challenges, such as River Blindness, Ebola and SARS-CoV-2.

Current and Future Developments: 

Franz Escherich, Swiss Hub Finance Operations Lead, MSD International GmbH, explains new operational and functional efficiencies by 2025:

“Our strong growth led to expansion and thus to the opening of additional sites in the canton of Lucerne. We are pleased that we are so well received as a company and that we can maintain an open and constructive dialogue with the business community, the canton and the city. Now it is time to consolidate our multiple office locations into a ‘One Roof concept’. We will achieve this in the emerging Rösslimatt district [Lucerne], which is scheduled for completion in 2025. Our ambition to improve cross-functional collaboration, foster a one MSD culture, reduce our environmental footprint and live our vision and mission is our compass on this exciting journey.”

MSD has opened a new location in Zurich aimed at accelerating the development and commercialization of medicines and vaccines:

“We are proud that MSD is building on our rich, almost 60-year legacy in Switzerland through the establishment of a new office in Zurich, which is a natural extension of our footprint here. Lucerne will remain the center of our presence in Switzerland, and we look forward to our continued success.”

Thomas Lang, Managing Director, MSD in Switzerland.