Merck Expands Facilities in Durham and Wilson, North Carolina
This substantial project will enable Merck to meet growing demand for GARDASIL and GARDASIL 9 recombinant human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine, which is used to prevent several cancers associated with HPV.
The company’s GARDASIL 9 vaccine helps prevent nine strains of HPV, including two HPV types that cause an estimated 70% of cervical cancers. Merck’s project to expand its North Carolina facilities includes plans to design, build, and win qualification from the FDA for a new 225,000 square foot manufacturing facility to produce active ingredients for the vaccine. The new facility will be located at Merck’s current manufacturing center in Durham.
“Merck is delighted to bring additional investment and jobs to North Carolina,” said Sanat Chattopadhyay, Executive Vice President, Merck, and President, Merck Manufacturing Division. “Our Durham and Wilson plants are key strategic sites in the Merck global manufacturing network. And the strong support of the state is critical for the success of businesses such as ours.”
The North Carolina Department of Commerce and the Economic Development Partnership of N.C. (EDPNC) led the state’s support for the company’s decision.
“The life science industry cluster in North Carolina enjoys a well-earned reputation as one of the nation’s leading centers for biotech innovation,” said North Carolina Commerce Secretary Anthony M. Copeland. “Merck’s long experience in our state gave them the confidence to bring this important new operation to North Carolina.”
Merck’s project in North Carolina will be facilitated, in part, by a Job Development Investment Grant (JDIG) approved by the state’s Economic Investment Committee earlier today. Over the course of the 12-year term of this grant, the project is estimated to grow the state’s economy by $3.1 billion. Merck will invest up to $650 million in the Durham location and create 391 jobs there.
In Wilson County, the company will invest up to $30 million to expand its existing packaging operations, creating 34 jobs. Using a formula that takes into account the new tax revenues generated by the new jobs, the JDIG agreement authorizes the potential reimbursement to the company of up to $4,974,750, spread over 12 years. State payments only occur following performance verification by the departments of Commerce and Revenue that the company has met its incremental job creation and investment targets. JDIG projects result in positive net tax revenue to the state treasury, even after taking into consideration the grant’s reimbursement payments to a given company.
As with many of the state’s incentive packages, the company’s JDIG agreement includes a requirement to retain a certain number of positions in the state in order to qualify for grant payments for the new jobs announced today. Merck’s manufacturing operations in North Carolina currently support 1,234 positions, which will serve as the company’s retention requirement.
According to state officials, the company’s transformation at its Durham site includes the end of bulk production for its drug product varicella, due to changes in market demand. As a result, Merck will eliminate the positions of up to 150 current full-time employees at the plant. Most of the job reductions will be immediate. However, these positions are included in Merck’s retention target, which means the company must return to current staffing levels before adding the 425 jobs being announced.
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