An unassuming stretch of geography between Manhattan, Kansas, and Columbia, Missouri, represents the world’s single largest concentration of animal health interests. More than 300 animal health-related companies call the Kansas City Animal Health Corridor home, representing 56% of the globe’s animal health, diagnostic and pet food sales.
With unparalleled advantages in transportation and distribution, the Kansas City Animal Health Corridor offers easy access to major distribution networks from FedEx, UPS and more. Additionally, the region’s central location and multimodal transportation assets allow companies to move goods to market.
The Kansas City regions’ workforce pipelines are well supported by world-class educational institutions like America’s two top veterinary schools — Kansas State University-College of Veterinary Medicine and the University of Missouri College of Veterinary Medicine. Additionally, four of the leading veterinary schools are located within 300 miles of Kansas City. The corridor is also home to many state-of-the-art research and development labs, including MRIGlobal, Stowers Institute for Medical Research and The National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility (NBAF).
Kansas was recently selected to be the new home for the NBAF, which is currently being constructed adjacent to Kansas State University’s campus in Manhattan by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. The facility is expected to be fully operational in 2022 or 2023 and will strengthen the country’s ability to conduct research on emerging diseases and vaccinations. The Manhattan location was selected after a three-year site selection process because of the KC Animal Health Corridor’s many advantages.
Merck Invests $100 million
New Jersey-based Merck Animal Health announced that it would invest $100 million in its DeSoto manufacturing facility in June. The investment will include a technological expansion of the vaccine production facility, which came online this year, and an additional investment of $66 million that will provide for added enhancement capabilities to be realized over the coming years.
The DeSoto site develops and manufactures a broad portfolio of vaccines for swine, cattle and equine with key technologies in research and development, manufacturing and quality operations. The site houses large-scale fermentation and cell culture, blending and filling operations and packaging, along with monoclonal antibody manufacturing for Companion Animals.
“We are excited about the opportunity to bring capital improvements, expansion in our manufacturing capacity and capabilities and advanced technology to our DeSoto facility, thereby, strengthening our footprint in the state and increasing our ability to fulfill customer demand for our portfolio of products,” said Pamela Stoops, Executive Director, DeSoto Operations, Merck Animal Health. “Our Merck Animal Health business is making great strides in building our business for the future. That means we need to ensure our place as a leader in animal health with a substantial and sustainable U.S. facility footprint, which includes investment and expansion in our key facilities. As a leader in delivering innovative pharmaceuticals and vaccines to advance animal health and meet customer needs, this investment reflects our commitment in producing a range of animal health vaccines and pharmaceuticals for animal health diseases.”
Because of the company’s strong growth, broad product portfolio, and enhanced manufacturing capacity and capabilities, Merck Animal Health continues to explore ways in the U.S. and globally to improve existing facilities with upgraded equipment or technology, further expand its facilities with advanced technology platforms and increase capacity and capabilities in manufacturing to meet the rapidly growing demand and flexibility for its vaccine and biologic products.
“We continually seek new ways to improve and enhance our production and manufacturing capacity at our facilities to meet the growing needs of our animal health customers,” said Scott Bormann, Senior vice president, North America Commercial Operations, Merck Animal Health. “Our investment in DeSoto positions us for strong long-term growth and enables us to remain a valued partner to our loyal customers through reliability and responsiveness to their needs.”
Savannah King is managing editor of custom content for Conway Inc. She is an award-winning journalist and previously wrote for The Times in Gainesville, Ga. She graduated from the University of West Florida with a degree in Broadcast Journalism and lives near Atlanta.