MilliporeSigma announced plans this week to build a new lateral flow membrane production facility in Sheboygan County after landing a $136.7 million government contract from the U.S. Department of Defense.
The contract is part of an effort by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to ensure local supply and production capacity for pandemic-related products. It will allow for the new MilliporeSigma facility to be built at the company's current Town of Wayne location over a three-year period, according to a press release.
“With this agreement, MilliporeSigma will construct a state-of-the-art lateral flow membrane production facility that will give our in vitro diagnostic (IVD) manufacturing customers greater flexibility and security of supply of our Hi-Flow™ Plus lateral flow membranes,” said Matthias Heinzel, member of the Executive Board and chief executive officer, Life Science, Merck KGaA.
MilliporeSigma is the life sciences business of Merck KGaA. The company’s lateral flow membranes are a type of paper used in rapid diagnostic test kit manufacturing. They have a variety of applications, including infectious disease testing (for COVID-19 and more), drug testing and food safety.
“It’s very similar to the membrane that you see in pregnancy tests. These are highly engineered filter paper – designed to provide the most accurate results for testing COVID-19, pregnancy, HIV-AIDs, etc.,” said Rachel Bloom-Baglin, a media representative with MilliporeSigma.
She said construction on the new facility at the Town of Wayne campus is expected to begin in the second half of 2022. Approximately 60 new positions are expected to be created. The actual size of the facility is not yet known as planning and prep work is still underway. According to the press release, building this new facility supports the overall Life Science business sector’s strategy to add physical capacity and expand its regional network to enable further growth of its key portfolios.
“Our lateral flow membranes have earned a reputation for high consistency among rapid diagnostic manufacturers and the already robust 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 at MilliporeSigma.
This isn’t the first time MilliporeSigma has expanded its Town of Wayne facility. Back in August 2017, the company unveiled a $64 million expansion plan.
The Town of Wilson facility is located on 513 acres. In addition to those operations, MilliporeSigma has operations in the Madison area and one of its largest distribution facilities is in Milwaukee.