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New Jersey-based pharmaceutical giant Merck & Co. announced that its new vaccine manufacturing facility in Durham, North Carolina, has completed start-up activities, and is beginning to validate production processes, a major step toward regulatory approval and licensure of the new facility.
Once licensed, the site will produce key childhood vaccines for measles, mumps, rubella and chickenpox, as well as a vaccine for shingles in older adults. Merck makes 11 of the 17 vaccines on the pediatric, adolescent and adult immunization schedules in the United States.
Merck is naming the new facility in honor of its most distinguished vaccine researcher, the late Maurice R. Hilleman, Ph.D. During his 30 years at Merck, Dr. Hilleman developed vaccines for eight of the diseases for which vaccines are routinely recommended for children in the United States, including measles, mumps and rubella.
The facility will be named The Maurice R. Hilleman Center for Vaccine Manufacturing.
Merck is making a total planned investment in Durham of approximately $750 million. As many as 400 jobs may be created when the project is completed in 2011.