Merck & Co. Plans $1-Billion Mfg Investment to Expand HPV Vaccine Operations

By Patricia Van Arnum - DCAT Editorial Director

May 8, 2019

Merck & Co. plans to invest up to $1 billion in stages over the next three years to expand its manufacturing operation by adding 120,000 square feet to its existing 1.1-million-square-foot operation in Elkton, Virginia to increase production of its human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccines. The announcement was made through the Governor’s Office of Virginia.

Merck has operated its Elkton manufacturing plant in Rockingham County, Virginia for over 75 years and currently employs approximately 900 workers at the site.

As part of the expansion, Blue Ridge Community College (BRCC) and James Madison University (JMU) will collaborate to address Merck’s short- and long-term workforce needs through the development of a custom workforce solution. BRCC and JMU will establish a pipeline of biotechnology engineering and computer science talent that will allow the Shenandoah Valley to accommodate the future growth of Merck and other life-science industries and manufacturers in the region.

Worldwide sales of Merck’s Gardasil/Gardasil 9, vaccines to help prevent certain cancers and other diseases caused by certain types of HPV, were $3.2 billion in 2018, with growth of 37% compared with 2017.

Source: Governor’s Office of Virginia