Merck to expand NC plant, adding 150 jobs

Merck may be shutting down and laying off at various spots around the globe, but in Durham, NC, the drugmaker is expanding. The company plans to add a new 70,000-square-foot unit to its Treyburn Corporate Park plant. And Merck intends to grow the workforce there by 150 jobs--to a total of 600--by year's end.

The new unit will be dedicated to manufacturing live-virus vaccines, bringing the total size of its bulk live-virus production facility at the plant to 270,000 square feet, plant manager John Wagner told the Durham Herald-Sun.

The facility started production in 2006, and it now makes Merck vaccines, including the chickenpox virus shot Varivax, as well as a shingles fighter and measles, mumps and rubella vaccines. The company also plans to use the facility to help supplement production of live-virus vaccines now made in West Point, Philadelphia. That unit has been struggling with some compliance problems, touching off a shortage of some vaccines, the Herald-Sun says.

Merck had already been working to expand operations at Treyburn; the company's addition of sterile processing units, freeze-drying capabilities, and packaging lines--115,000 square feet all told--is expected to be complete next year, InPharm reports.

- check out the Herald-Sun coverage
- read the InPharm piece