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.