A Big Deal For Chemists

Lab Chemicals: Merck KGaA’s buy of Sigma-Aldrich created a lab supplies powerhouse

Marc S. Reisch


Technicians manipulate highly potent compounds in Sigma-Aldrich’s St. Louis antibody-drug conjugate suite.
Credit: Merck KGaA

Germany’s Merck completed its $17 billion purchase of Sigma-Aldrich in November, creating a lab supplies giant built on a number of legendary businesses. Sigma’s industry-leading e-commerce system will soon gain Merck and Millipore products, putting it on the desks of chemists worldwide.

The combined business is called MilliporeSigma in the U.S., where Merck & Co. has rights to the Merck name, and Merck Life Sciences elsewhere. Behind the new name is Sigma-Aldrich, a brand synonymous with research chemicals, especially in the U.S. Sigma was formed in 1975 from the merger of Aldrich Chemical and Sigma Chemical.

Also behind the new name is Millipore, a bioprocessing and filtration materials unit dating back to 1954. Merck acquired Millipore in 2010 for $7.2 billion and combined it with the Merck lab chemicals operations, whose involvement in high-purity reagents dates back to the mid-19th century.

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