North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper will visit Sanford’s Pfizer facility Thursday, the Rant has learned.

Cooper apparently will join Pfizer executives and employees at a ceremony celebrating Pfizer’s acquisition from GlaxoSmithKline of Nimenrix, a vaccine which protects against Neisseria meningitidis.

The Pilot newspaper in Southern Pines featured Sanford’s Pfizer plant last week after one of its employees, Moore County resident Ray Halstead, was featured in a so-called “micro-documentary” about her work at the vaccine production facility.

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The Pilot’s story also heralded recent – and projected – growth at the Sanford plant. From the piece:

Chances are if you’ve watched television for more than an hour or two over the last decade, you’ve likely viewed commercial advertising of a Pfizer product. From ChapStick and Advil, to Viagra and Lipitor, the company employs approximately 90,000 employees around the world, including 450 at its North Carolina facility in Sanford.

Earlier this year, Pfizer began exploring an option to expand the Sanford facility with a $100 million investment. If those plans go forward, the expansion would add a gene therapy component to the operation and up to 50 additional jobs.

This is good news, because less than a decade ago, the pendulum swung hard the other way. Back in 2009, Pfizer acquired Wyeth in a $68 billion acquisition. That action put hundreds out of work when the same Sanford facility was downsized. Like Pfizer, Wyeth had used the laboratories on-site to manufacture a pediatric Prevnar vaccine.

Cooper’s office didn’t return a call seeking details about the visit.