The ASM Milestones in Microbiology program recognizes institutions and scientists that have made significant contributions toward advancing the science of microbiology.
This small city, 20 miles south west of New York City, was where our founder, George Merck, decided to stake his claim as his company grew out of the confines of New York City. In 1903, he settled on 150 acres in Rahway N.J. and started out with only 20 employees, two buildings, and two working telephones.
It was in Rahway where he decided his company would focus on pharmaceutical research in addition to chemical manufacturing. An idea continued by his son, George W. Merck, who transformed the Rahway offices into a university-like setting to help attract top talent, including academic researchers.
As our research and development continued, this part of the company became known as Merck Research Laboratories (MRL). In our Rahway labs, Merck scientists conducted pioneering microbiology research, including work that led to the development of a number of life-saving anti-infective products. In 1952, we expanded and opened another MRL facility in West Point, Pa., focusing on vaccine research and development.
In 1956, Maurice R. Hilleman became the facility’s director of virus and cell biology research. During his tenure, Hilleman and his team developed many life-saving vaccines.
Take a look back at some archival images from our Rahway N.J. facility
In recognition of the antimicrobial work done in Rahway and West Point and the resulting benefits to human and animal health, these two campuses have been designated as Milestone in Microbiology sites by the American Society for Microbiology.The ASM Milestones in Microbiology program recognizes institutions and scientists that have made significant contributions toward advancing the science of microbiology. Merck is the first company to receive this recognition.
“Merck is honored to be acknowledged as an ASM Milestone in Microbiology site for our strong legacy of anti-infective and vaccine research, especially in our 125th year as a global health care leader. We are fortunate to have had many pioneers lead the way for Merck over the years, and we remain steadfast in our commitment to treating and preventing infectious diseases. ”
-Dr.Roger Perlmutter, president, Merck Research Laboratories
The Milestones in Microbiology program, spearheaded by the ASM, recognizes institutions (and their scientists) who have made significant contributions toward advancing the science of microbiology. Every year, the program places explanatory plaques at the sites to help increase recognition of the science of microbiology.