Rapid test component production funded for county manufacturer

Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, a leading science and technology company, has announced that its Life Science business sector, MilliporeSigma, has been awarded a $137 million contract award for the construction of a lateral flow membrane production facility over a three-year period at the company’s U.S. site in Sheboygan County.

The contract award from the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD), on behalf of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, is part of an effort to ensure secure local supply and production capacity for critical products for pandemic preparedness.

“With this agreement, Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, will construct a state-of- the-art lateral flow membrane production facility that will give our global in-vitro diagnostic (IVD) manufacturing customers greater flexibility and security of supply of our Hi-FlowTM Plus lateral flow membranes,” said Matthias Heinzel, Member of the Executive Board and CEO Life Science.

“Our lateral flow membranes have earned a worldwide reputation for high consistency among rapid diagnostic manufacturers and the already robust global demand for this membrane has significantly increased since the onset of the pandemic. 

“With this critical investment, we are expanding much-needed access to essential diagnostic testing as a trusted partner to the world’s most sophisticated diagnostic manufacturers,” said Jean-Charles Wirth, head of Applied Solutions, Life Science.

Hi-FlowTM Plus lateral flow membrane is used in rapid diagnostic test kit manufacturing by customers, enabling reproducible results due to its consistent quality and optimized properties. 

The rapid test kits are used for a variety of applications, including Infectious Disease testing (Covid-19, HIV, Influenza, Malaria, etc.), as well as in women’s health, biomarker detection, drug testing, food safety and animal health. 

Due to continuously increasing demand for lateral flow membrane, the firm had already invested in a second membrane casting line in Cork, Ireland, which was recently completed, and expanded the range of other critical reagents (antibodies, beads, blockers, buffers) utilized to develop lateral flow rapid test kits. 

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