Merck embarks on 3-year push to combine NJ sites into new HQ

Merck employed about 6,500 people in New Jersey as of late 2018. (Merck)

Merck & Co. is preparing for a major real estate move in New Jersey. 

The global drug giant aims to consolidate New Jersey campuses at a new headquarters in Rahway—its original HQ—by the end of 2023.

It will be Merck's second headquarters move in a decade, after its 2015 transition to current digs in Kenilworth, New Jersey, from nearby Whitehouse Station, where it had been based since 1992, according to the Union County LocalSource. Merck disclosed the move with its first-quarter results late last month.

“The consolidation of sites will allow us to bring all our divisions and their leadership teams together to create a more modern environment centered around science and innovation,” a spokeswoman told the newspaper. “We remain committed to New Jersey and invested in the state as the home of our global headquarters.” 

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Merck’s history in Rahway dates to the early 1900s, according to an article on the company’s history published by Brooklyn College. Around that time, George Merck purchased 120 acres of wooded land and the company established a plant to start manufacturing chemicals.

As of late 2018, the company employed more than 6,500 people in New Jersey. Many of Merck’s employees in the state are researchers, according to an infographic

RELATED: Merck, with a heavy presence in physician-administered drugs, predicts a $2.1B sales hit from COVID-19 

Also with its first-quarter results, Merck said it expects a $2.1 billion hit to sales in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Amid that backdrop, the company is continuing to “evaluate our global footprint and overall operating model,” a spokeswoman told FiercePharma. She said it's "not the company’s intention to restructure the workforce as a result of this real estate consolidation."