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Merck (NYSE: MRK), a leading global biopharmaceutical company, will invest $57 million and create 55 jobs in Wilson, Governor Roy Cooper announced today. The expansion will establish a filling and packaging line for the company’s RotaTeq® vaccine.

“Merck is a cornerstone of pharmaceutical development and manufacturing, and good jobs will continue to grow with today’s announcement in Wilson,” said Governor Cooper.  

Merck, with headquarters in Kenilworth, New Jersey and known as MSD outside of the United States and Canada, discovers and develops medicines and vaccines for many of the world’s most challenging diseases.  The company operates in more than 140 countries and stays at the forefront of research to advance the prevention and treatment of diseases that threaten people and communities around the world.

The company’s RotaTeq® vaccine is used to prevent rotavirus gastroenteritis in children. Rotavirus gastroenteritis can cause fever, vomiting and diarrhea that can be severe and lead to dehydration and hospitalization. Merck’s investment at the Wilson site will increase the company’s overall supply of this important medicine.

“Merck is delighted to announce its second significant investment at our Wilson plant in less than a year,” said Sanat Chattopadhyay, Executive Vice President and President, Merck Manufacturing Division. This latest commitment will enable us to introduce a new and innovative filling and packaging technology to assist in the production of our important RotaTeq® vaccine. We appreciate all the support we’ve received for this project from Governor Cooper, Secretary Copeland and his staff, and from Wilson County.”

Today’s commitment is the second major expansion Merck has announced in North Carolina in 2019. In July, the company announced it would begin producing its GARDASIL® and GARDASIL 9® recombinant human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine in the state, supported by expansion of company facilities in Durham and Wilson. In the earlier announcement, the company committed to invest more than $680 million in the state, with $30 million of that investment earmarked for Wilson.

“Nothing beats first-hand knowledge, and Merck’s previous experience in our state gave them the confidence to bring this new business line here,” said North Carolina Commerce Secretary Anthony M. Copeland.  “In just one year, this company has now invested $737 million in North Carolina, proving again that we’re a hotbed for the life science industry.”

The North Carolina Department of Commerce led the state’s support for the company during its site evaluation and decision-making process.

Although wages will vary depending on position, Merck’s average salary for all the new positions will reach $59,273. The current average wage in Wilson County is $44,012.

A performance-based grant of $200,000 from the One North Carolina Fund will help facilitate Merck’s expansion in Wilson County. The One NC Fund provides financial assistance to local governments to help attract economic investment and to create jobs. Companies receive no money upfront and must meet job creation and capital investment targets to qualify for payment. All One NC grants require a matching grant from local governments and any award is contingent upon that condition being met.

“Merck is a valued employer in our region,” said N.C. Senator Milton ‘Toby’ Fitch, Jr. “We welcome these additional jobs and the opportunities they will bring to our people.”

“New growth from one of our area’s most important industries is an exciting development,” said N.C. Representative Jean Farmer-Butterfield. “Our community is proud to partner with Merck and we look forward to supporting the company’s next phase of growth.”

Partnering with N.C. Commerce and the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina on this project were the North Carolina General Assembly, Wilson County, and the Wilson County Economic Development Office.