Merck adds $300M, 180 jobs at NC plant

Color North Carolina pleased. Merck plans to invest an additional $300 million in a vaccine plant in Durham, expanding it beyond its original scope. The project is expected to yield up to 180 new jobs, bringing the total to be employed at the enormous facility to around 400.

With initial construction on the plant complete, builders are now working on a sterile processing facility, quality-testing labs, and high-speed packaging line. Another construction phase is set to begin next year. Though one processing line is up and running, it has yet to receive FDA approval. Once the facility is complete, it will supply childhood vaccines and a shingles shot for adults--and will account for some $700 million in capital expense on Merck's part. Yet more evidence that vaccines are among pharma's hottest products these days.

- read the CNBC brief