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Gardasil pulls in $1.5bn, driving vaccine business for Merck

Merck & Co. says sales of HPV vaccine franchise Gardasil could double by 2030 as “significant” capacity investments come online.

Dan Stanton

February 14, 2022

2 Min Read
Gardasil pulls in $1.5bn, driving vaccine business for Merck
Image: Stock Photo Secrets

Merck & Co. says sales of its human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine franchise Gardasil could double by 2030 as “significant” capacity investments come online.

For the full year, 2021, vaccines pulled in around $9.7 billion in sales revenues for Merck. The division was driven by Gardasil and Gardasil 9, which saw sales of $5.7 billion for the 12 months, up 44% on the year prior.

As CFO Caroline Litchfield said during the firm’s end-of-year conference call, “underlying global demand for Gardasil remains strong, as it is increasingly being recognized as a vaccine that can help prevent certain HPV-related cancers in both, females and males.”

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Image: Stock Photo Secrets

With continued demand, Merck predicts sales could potentially double by 2030 as a host of new facilities come online.

“We are making significant investments in production capacity for our HPV vaccines, with an urgency to increase supply to meet the growing global demand,” a Merck spokesperson told BioProcess Insider. “As we announced in late 2018, we are investing $16 billion in capital projects over the next five years, with a sizable portion dedicated to vaccine expansion. The overall investment is unprecedented in the company’s history in terms of size and scope. These efforts include $1.7 billion expansions of our vaccines production capabilities, including our HPV vaccines, at our sites in Elkton, Virginia, and Durham, North Carolina.

Between 2017-2020, Merck nearly doubled Gardasil supply, the spokesperson said, and these further expansion programs are expected to double capacity again when they come online from 2023.

“Despite the pandemic, we have continued to expand capacity and increase supply,” we were told. “We are fully committed to our significant manufacturing expansion efforts to meet growing global demand. This remains a top priority for Merck and is central to our goal of reducing the number of women and men affected by vaccine-preventable HPV-related cancers and diseases.”

For the full year 2021, Merck reported total sales of $48.7 billion, $17.2 billion of which came from a 20% year-on-year increase in sales of cancer drug Keytruda (pembrolizumab).

About the Author(s)

Dan Stanton

Managing editor

Journalist covering the international biopharmaceutical manufacturing and processing industries.


Founder and editor of Bioprocess Insider, a daily news offshoot of publication Bioprocess International, with expertise in the pharmaceutical and healthcare sectors, in particular, the following niches: CROs, CDMOs, M&A, IPOs, biotech, bioprocessing methods and equipment, drug delivery, regulatory affairs and business development.


From London, UK originally but currently based in Montpellier, France through a round-a-bout adventure that has seen me live and work in Leeds (UK), London, New Zealand, and China.