Merck & Biogen to expand NC capabilities & add jobs

By Nick Taylor

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Vaccine, Measles, Biogen

Biogen Idec and Merck & Co are expanding capabilities and adding jobs in Durham, North Carolina, US.

Merck is adding 70,000 sq ft to its facility in Treyburn Corporate Park, north of Durham, to expand vaccine production capabilities. Also, south of Durham in Research Triangle Park (RTP) Biogen is to build an 180,000 sq ft site. Both expansions were reported by the Durham Herald Sun​.

To support the expansion Merck will hire 150 people in 2011. At the end of 2010 Merck employed 450 people at the site. Following the expansion the bulk live virus production plant will cover 270,000 sq ft and support live vaccine production capacity Merck has in Pennsylvania.

Merck also has two fill and finish plants at the Durham site. Since setting up in Treyburn Corporate Park Merck has invested about $900m (€615m) to bring total footprint up to 650,000 sq ft once the latest expansion is complete.

In November the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the Durham plant for fill and finish of paediatric chicken pox vaccine Varivax (varicella virus vaccine live). The plant may also play a role in producing vaccines for measles, mumps and rubella in the future.

Biogen moving

Biogen is to construct an 180,000 sq ft building in RTP. Currently Biogen leases a site south of Durham but now plans to move north and break ground in RTP. Biogen already has a manufacturing facility in RTP.

Moving operations and 275 people to the new building in RTP will free up laboratory space, Biogen told the Herald Sun​. Biogen expects to add jobs in RTP.

In the past 12 months Medicago and Eisai have also added manufacturing capacity in RTP. Medicago detailed plans to build a 90,000 sq ft vaccine plant in August 2010. In May 2010 Eisai opened a 65,000 sq ft manufacturing and development facility for intravenous products.

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