Merck completes $1bn HPV vaccine expansion in Virginia

Merck & Co. has added 120,000 square feet of manufacturing capacity at its Rockingham County site to support continued scale-up of its Gardasil HPV vaccines.

Human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccines Gardasil and Gardasil 9 pulled in $1.5 billion for Merck last year, and while the firm has predicted sales to double by 2030 as demand continues, this is reliant on having the manufacturing capacity in place.

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With this in mind, it is good news today for Merck as it announces the completion of a $1 billion investment at its Elkton facility in Rockingham County, Virginia. The expansion, first announced in H1 2019, adds 120,000 square feet of manufacturing space to the 1.1 million square-foot site and adds 150 new jobs.

““Increasing supply of our HPV vaccines is a top priority, and over the last several years we have steadily increased our manufacturing capacity in response to growing global demand,” Jacks Lee, senior vice president, Merck Manufacturing said in a statement.

“Despite the pandemic, our teams have completed the building infrastructure expansion at our Elkton site ahead of schedule and we are excited to reach this important milestone.”

A second investment of $680 million in its Gardasil network was announced in H2 2019. The expansion comprises of $650 million to construct a facility at its Maurice R. Hilleman Center for Vaccine Manufacturing in Durham, North Carolina and $30 million to expand a nearby packaging site in Wilson.