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60 Years of MSD Switzerland

Our Success Story

Our success story began with a branch office in Lucerne in 1963. It has been shaped by significant milestones that have made us who we are today – one of the leading research-based biopharmaceutical companies in Switzerland.

How it All Began and Who we are Today.

“Every day we do our best to help patients gain valuable longevity and quality of life.”

Dimitri Gitas

Managing Director · MSD Switzerland


Our Milestones in Switzerland

Men sit at the table and sign contracts


MSD’s first Swiss branch opened in Lucerne

In the same year, Schering-Plough opens a branch office in Lucerne with Essex Chemie AG.

(Schering-Plough and MSD undergo a global merger later.)

Festively dressed people on the terrace


MSD Research and Development Center opened in Schachen

Schering-Plough expands its presence within Switzerland and opens a Research and Development Laboratory in Schachen (LU) – Werthenstein Chemie AG.


woman looking at the camera



MSD launches the first commercially available cholesterol-lowering drug


A team of researchers stands smiling in the laboratory


MSD is successful in gaining approval for a drug to treat HIV

Following FDA approval of MSD’s active ingredient in the USA in a record time of 42 days, the HIV drug is also approved in Switzerland. It was instrumental in making HIV a survivable infection.

Female scientist at work in the laboratory


MSD launches first vaccine against cervical cancer

The vaccine protects against certain types of human papillomavirus (HPV), which are the most common cause of cervical cancer.

Scientists Thornberry and Weber smile at the camera


MSD launches first oral therapy for type 2 diabetes

Many people sitting in a lecture hall

2009 - 2011

MSD and Schering-Plough Merger

The Swiss subsidiary, Essex Chemie AG, and MSD Switzerland merged in 2011 and have since been known as MSD Merck Sharp & Dohme AG.

The former Essex Chemie AG site in Lucerne serves as the new headquarters for the merged companies.

Cancer cells


MSD achieves a breakthrough in cancer therapy

MSD receives accelerated approval for a novel cancer drug. It is the first anti-PD-1 therapy that increases the ability of the body’s immune system to recognize and fight tumor cells.

People in protective clothing in front of tents in Ebola area


MSD’s Ebola vaccine receives approval

MSD Switzerland - Who We Are Today

Scientist working in the lab

We are advocates for medical progress

We are leaders in immuno-oncology and vaccine innovation.

Learn more Oncology / Vaccines

MSD Switzerland recognized as a Top Employer for the 12th consecutive year

We are a Top Employer

We are a top employer for our 1,000 staff members, for the 12th time in a row.

Two men shake hands

We are a trustworthy partner

... not just at "Trendtage Gesundheit Luzern" (Lucerne Health Trend Days) or at the "Race for Life".

Doctor and patient discussing a document sitting at the table

We conduct clinical research

We coordinate around 40 clinical trials annually in Switzerland.

MSD employees at Race for Life

We take our responsibility seriously

And one way of expressing this is our social commitment in various initiatives and projects.

A men sitting on the table, smiling during a meeting

We support diversity and inclusion

Women occupy 50% of our management positions. Diversity advances our success.

Rösslimatt Lucerne ©Anliker

As of 2025 we will be operating in the Rösslimatt area of Lucerne

We are pleased to be bringing together three of MSD's five branches in the Rösslimatt area.

More information

CH-NON-02244, 05/2023