Northam Announces Big Expansion for Merck

May 7, 2019

Gov. Ralph Northam announces the planned big expansion of the Merck pharmaceutical facility in Elkton.
Credit Randi B. Hagi

Governor Ralph Northam visited the Merck pharmaceutical plant in Elkton Monday (May 6).  He announced the company’s plans to invest up to $1 billion over the next three years to expand its manufacturing facility. WMRA’s Randi B. Hagi reports.

About 90 people – local officials, college and business leaders, and plant workers – gathered yesterday to hear Governor Northam announce the 120,000 square foot expansion of Merck’s Elkton facilities. Northam began his remarks by thanking Merck employees.

NORTHAM: Thank you for what you do, for what you contribute to the Commonwealth of Virginia, but perhaps more importantly, to what you contribute to the health of people all around this world.

Northam was joined by Merck executive Karin Shanahan (l) and executive vice president Sanat Chattopadhyay.
Credit Randi B. Hagi

The expansion, called the Gardasil Purification Center, will create about 100 new jobs at the Elkton plant, which currently employs 900. Gardasil and Gardasil 9 are Human Papillomavirus vaccines.

Pending approval from the General Assembly, Merck could receive up to $7.5 million in state funds for the expansion’s storm water and infrastructure upgrades through the assembly’s Major Employment and Investment Project Approval Commission. James Madison University and Blue Ridge Community College could receive up to $2.5 million for biotechnology engineering and computer science workforce development, which Northam identified as important fields of the 21st century.

NORTHAM: The key is to be able to train talent here in Virginia at our great colleges and universities and then be able to keep that talent in Virginia. So this is really a win-win situation for Virginia.