US-based pharmaceutical company Merck has announced plans to invest $15m to expand and renovate its packaging and stability testing facility in Wilson.

Merck said that the company will renovate the existing manufacturing space and build a new cold storage facility for vaccine packaging, to support its growing vaccine business.

Merck Wilson plant manager Stan Booth said that packaging and proper storage is essential to protect the potency and viability of the vaccines produced by the company.

"When the expansion efforts in Wilson are complete the facility will be able to package and store refrigerated and frozen vaccines at ideal conditions," Booth added.

According to the company, the majority of products packaged in Wilson are stored at room temperature.

Construction of the facility is expected to commence in the next six to eight weeks and is slated for completion within a year.

The construction process, which will be managed by construction services provider Jacobs Engineering, is expected to bring temporary construction jobs to the site.

The facility, located on 225 acres, serves as a packaging centre for many of the company’s pharmaceutical products for the US and Canadian markets.

Merck offers prescription medicines, vaccines, biologic therapies, consumer care and animal health products, with operations in more than 140 countries.