In the fall of 2003, after months of searching for a location for a new vaccine manufacturing facility, Merck announced its decision to locate the new site in Durham, North Carolina. Construction began in early 2004 and in October of that year, a groundbreaking ceremony formally kicked off the project in the community. The initial project consisted of a vaccine manufacturing facility, warehouse and storage facility, energy center and office building. Construction on Phase I was completed in 2008. The site expects to produce product for the market by 2010.
In December 2006, Merck announced Phase II of the project, an expansion that would add an additional vaccine manufacturing facility, a release laboratory and a packaging line. Construction on Phase II is targeted for completion in 2010.
In June 2008, Phase III of the project was announced. This expansion will add a vaccine bulk manufacturing facility, giving the site vaccine manufacturing capability from the bulk to the packaged product. It is scheduled for completion in 2012.
The site will initially manufacture Merck's childhood vaccines for measles, mumps, rubella and chickenpox, as well as the adult vaccine for shingles.
It is not often that employees get to contribute to the start-up of an entirely new site. Having the chance to do so is a unique and rewarding experience!