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Firm Announces $1 Billion Investment To Expand Manufacturing Operation
May 17, 2019

Merck & Co., Inc., a publicly held global healthcare company known as MSD outside the United States and Canada, has announced plans to invest up to $1 billion in stages over the next three years to expand its manufacturing operation in Rockingham County, Virginia. The expansion plans call for the addition of 120,000 square feet to the company’s existing 1.1 million-square-foot operation located in Elkton, Virginia, to increase production of its Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccines.

Merck is a global healthcare leader that is committed to improving health and wellbeing around the world. With approximately 69,000 employees, the company delivers innovative health solutions through its prescription medicines, vaccines, biologic therapies, and animal health products. Merck has operated its Elkton manufacturing plant in Rockingham County for over 75 years and currently employs approximately 900 workers at the site.

“We are proud of the employees and colleagues at Merck who are inventing for life to deliver our innovative medicines and vaccines to the world,” said Sanat Chattopadhyay, Executive Vice President and President, Merck Manufacturing Division. “We also are grateful to our neighbors in the community and Commonwealth. Our strong partnerships with local and state elected officials, educational institutions, and organizations throughout the Elkton community help us sustain our commitment to the area’s economic growth.”

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.

According to a statement released by Governor Ralph S. Northam’s office, “This record investment in Rockingham County is a symbol of Merck’s strong commitment to the Shenandoah Valley and will support further economic growth in the region,” noted Governor Northam in response to the announcement. “Merck has long been a valued employer and important corporate steward in Virginia that continues to play a vital role in advancing the 21st-century manufacturing sector in our Commonwealth. I want to commend all of the partners involved on this transformative project, including Blue Ridge Community College and James Madison University—their unprecedented collaboration will ensure we have pipeline of skilled talent in the Shenandoah Valley for decades to come.”

The Virginia Economic Development Partnership (VEDP) worked with Rockingham County, the Shenandoah Valley Partnership, and the General Assembly’s Major Employment and Investment (MEI) Project Approval Commission to secure the project for Virginia. Subject to approval by the General Assembly, Merck will be eligible to receive an MEI custom performance grant of up to $7.5 million for storm water and infrastructure upgrades to support the expansion of the facility. In addition, Blue Ridge Community College and James Madison University are eligible to receive up to $2.5 million for the development of a custom workforce solution. Additionally, Dominion Energy will provide support to enable the expansion, including substantial infrastructure upgrades. The company is also eligible to receive Sales and Use tax exemptions on manufacturing equipment, as well as a Major Business Facility Job Tax Credit for new, full-time jobs created.

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