While Merck has been cutting down on its workforce following its mega-merger with Schering-Plough, the Big Pharma company has been steadily ramping up its vaccine operations in Durham, NC.
Payroll at its main vaccine operation is expected to swell from 275 today to some 400 by the end of the year. And this August, Merck will break ground on a 40,000-square-foot testing lab that is slated to open in 2012 with 50 to 60 workers. Work on the campus was launched back in 2004, and Merck is expecting to gain approvals to start selling the vaccines it makes there later this summer.
The region bet big on Merck when it first floated the idea of building a vaccine complex in the area. Merck stands to gain $45 million in hiring incentives if it hits its projected workforce levels. Pfizer, meanwhile, recently announced that it would lay off 50 workers in Durham as it absorbs Wyeth.