MSD: A strong local presence in Belgium

Merck Sharp & Dohme (MSD) is a global bio-pharmaceutical company, known in the United States and in Canada under the name of Merck. Their objective is to help the world to live better, with a patient-centered approach, investing in innovation and scientific excellence. MSD in Belgium is involved in all stages of the development of innovative medicines through its locations in Brussels and Heist, including research, clinical trials, worldwide production, packaging and distribution, and local commercialization.

MSD facilities in Belgium

The MSD production and distribution plant in Heist-op-den-Berg has been operational since 1973 and employs around 800 workers. It is one of the largest manufacturing and packaging sites for MSD in the world. In the Heist-op-den-berg facility, around 180 million packs per year are packaged and transported throughout the world for patients in more than 140 countries.

The site manufactures and packages a wide range of products, including: tablets, liquids, ointments, creams, ampoules and vials. It also packages biological products. Innovative life-saving cancer medicines (e.g. immuno-oncology medication) are also packaged at Heist and shipped all over the world.

For more than a century, MSD has been inventing medicines and vaccines for many of the world’s most challenging diseases. We have always been and always will be inventing, and we do it for the single greatest purpose: LIFE.

Brecht Vanneste, Managing Director MSD

Belgium is the leader in Europe and second place in the world in terms of clinical trials. MSD is actively involved in all stages of clinical research, with around 90% of their “First in Human” studies (first clinical trials in humans) carried out in Belgium. MSD is also currently conducting more than 40 clinical trials (late stage development) which include more than 1,000 patients in 140 centers in Belgium and in the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg.

MSD facilities in Belgium

From the MSD Brussels office, over 100 employees work diligently to guarantee the highest clinical and regulatory standards of their innovations. The commercial operation team for Belgium and the MSD animal health division are based in Brussels. MSD also enters into partnerships with innovative Belgian biotechnology companies, in order to develop promising products that address unmet medical needs.

MSD strives to make a difference to people’s lives, through the development of innovative medicines and vaccines, as well as animal health products. Investing in research has enabled MSD to make medicines available to the medical profession that improve the quality of life of millions of patients. MSD’s current research and development activities focus on five therapeutic areas: oncology, diabetes, care in the hospital environment and immunology, vaccines and Alzheimer’s. In immuno-oncology, for example, MSD is conducting a major clinical development program in more than 30 types of tumor in ten thousands of cancer patients all over the world with pembrolizumab, an innovative immuno-oncology compound for which MSD was awarded the prestigious Prix Galien prize.

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About the company in this story...


  • MSD was established in Belgium in 1965.
  • MSD in Belgium is involved in all stages of the development of innovative medicines through its locations in Brussels and Heist.
  • Around 1,100 employees of which around 800 workers in the Heist-op-den-Berg plant (production and packaging facility).
  • 90% of their first in human clinical trials carried out in Belgium.
0 million
packs distributed worldwide every year from Belgium

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