Darmstadt, Germany, October 1, 2015 – Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, a leading company for innovative and top-quality high-tech products in healthcare, life science and performance materials, today opened its Innovation Center in Darmstadt, thus establishing a new platform for innovations from around the world and from the Rhine-Main region.

The two-floor building, which has a surface area of over 1,400 square meters, offers room for ideas and exchange. It is to promote both the innovation potential of employees of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, and give external innovators the opportunity to develop their ideas with support from Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany. Apart from the official opening of the present modular Innovation Center, Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, also laid the cornerstone for the future Innovation Center, which will form the heart of the expanded global headquarters as of 2018.

Over the next five years, meaning until 2020, Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, will be investing a total of around € 1 billion in the Darmstadt site. Of this amount, € 17 million is attributable to the Innovation Center officially opened today, and € 69 million to the future Innovation Center.

Karl-Ludwig Kley, Chief Executive Officer of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, sees innovation and creativity, courage and entrepreneurial spirit as the main drivers of the successful development of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany. "With Healthcare, Life Science and Performance Materials, we have established three strong technology platforms, the tremendous future potential of which we need to develop further," said Kley at the Grand Opening in Darmstadt. "The Innovation Center offers an environment in which ideas can freely unfold and pioneering spirit is supported. I am firmly convinced that this will lead to a hotbed of new technologies that are capable of transforming us and the world we live in in the long term."

In recent years, Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, has transformed itself into a technology company driven by innovation. This was achieved through acquisitions in biotechnology and the life science sector, which mainly encompasses laboratory instruments and materials for biopharmaceutical processes, as well as by building on the company's strong position in high-tech materials for smartphones and flat panel displays. While the respective businesses will continue to drive research and development, the Innovation Center is intended to promote ideas arising either at the interface of or beyond the core businesses. Customer proximity and marketability are in the foreground.

Volker Bouffier, Prime Minister of the German federal state of Hesse, who attended as a guest and speaking with Karl-Ludwig Kley at the Grand Opening, sees the Innovation Center as a great opportunity for the region: "The Rhine-Main region offers a superb infrastructure for innovation. We have successful companies operating in a wide variety of sectors, leading research institutes and universities, as well as a vibrant entrepreneurial spirit. With the Innovation Center here in Darmstadt, Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, is creating a new platform for this network and is giving innovation in the region a home."

In order to also promote the development of the Rhine-Main region into a center of innovation, the Innovation Center is being opened to founders and start-ups from the healthcare, life science and performance materials sectors. Through the Accelerator program, selected start-ups receive strategic and operational advice over a period of three months, as well as financial support of € 25,000. One of the start-up teams is Apoly, which has developed an app that is to serve as a pocket pharmacy. Users can select symptoms in the app and based on medical data within the app, receive recommendations on over-the-counter treatments or are encouraged to consult a physician.

Notes for editors
More information on today's event are available here, including photo material as of 2:00 pm
Detailed information about the Innovation Center is available here
Information about the Merck Accelerator can be found here
Merck on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn
Merck photos and video footage can be found here