Merck’s storied legacy in New Jersey continued this morning with a reaffirmation to its roots. The global pharmaceutical giant held a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the “reimagining” of its historic Rahway campus, which now officially serves as the company’s global headquarters.
Merck first moved its headquarters from Rahway to Whitehouse Station in 1992, and then from Whitehouse Station to Kenilworth in 2015. The 100-acre headquarters in Kenilworth was sold earlier this year, after Merck announced in 2020 that it would be consolidating its operations back to a single headquarters in Rahway, which today’s celebration earmarked.
“Rahway is the birthplace of Merck Research Laboratories, where our ongoing journey of innovative biopharmaceutical research and development began,” said Robert M. Davis, chairman and chief executive officer of Merck. “A century later, we begin a new chapter of discovery and hope for all humanity.”
The Merck Research Laboratory was founded in Rahway back in 1933, and represented the company’s initial foray into pharmacological research.
Over its 120-year legacy, the Rahway campus has seen the start of many of Merck’s greatest scientific breakthroughs, from penicillin to cortisone to lovastatin. In fact, Rahway is recognized as an International Historic Chemical Landmark for Merck’s role in developing penicillin.
There are 100 buildings on site, extending more than 200 acres, spanning both the cities of Rahway and Linden. The campus houses some of the latest Merck technology, including The Flex Center, a fully adaptable experimental facility for both development work and clinical manufacturing. More than 6,000 employees work at the Rahway campus across a multitude of divisions and functions.
Gov. Phil Murphy, who attended the ceremony, said that the ribbon-cutting of Merck’s Rahway headquarters proves that “the companies of tomorrow are deciding to not only locate here, but to stay and grow here as we continue to cultivate our burgeoning innovation economy.”
He added that the economic impact of this site, which will boast more than 6,000 employees, will solidify New Jersey’s standing as a global pharmaceutical hub.
“Most importantly, the unveiling of Merck’s Rahway headquarters will enable this prolific company to continue its legacy of life-changing medical discoveries that have shaped the history of our state and the nation as a whole,” Murphy said.
“We want to underscore the importance of New Jersey as the hub for pharmaceutical discovery and innovation,” said Paula Alston, Merck vice president of facilities. “We feel that it is important to reestablish our roots and continue driving that innovation from within New Jersey.”
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