The historical roots of Merck KGaA lie in Darmstadt, where Friedrich Jacob Merck acquired the Engel-Apotheke (“Angel Pharmacy”) in 1668. In 1827, Heinrich Emanuel Merck began the industrial-scale production of alkaloids, plant extracts and other chemicals. The successful export business in the United States led in 1887 to the establishment of a subsidiary in New York. Under Georg Merck, a grandson of Heinrich Emanuel Merck, Merck & Co. was formed in North America in 1891.
Even though any direct association between Merck KGaA in Darmstadt and the U.S. pharmaceutical company Merck & Co., Whitehouse Station, New Jersey, ended long ago, the two are confused time and again. Merck in Darmstadt is the oldest pharmaceutical and chemical company in the world and continues to successfully operate in both sectors, to this day. Merck & Co. became an independent company after World War I.
Today, the two companies are no longer linked to one another. The only thing they still have in common is the name Merck: Merck KGaA of Darmstadt, Germany, – the original – holds the global rights to the name and the trademark MERCK. The exception is North America, where we are represented by the EMD brand, which stands for “Emanuel Merck Darmstadt”.
Merck & Co. of Whitehouse Station, NJ, holds the rights to the name and the trademark MERCK in North America. In the rest of the world the company operates as MSD, Merck Sharp & Dohme or MSD Sharp & Dohme.