North Carolina’s life science industry and economy will be getting a boost from drug giant Merck & Co.

The pharmaceutical firm told Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue on Friday that it had decided to build a new manufacturing facility in Durham rather than in Georgia.

North Carolina won in part due to $24 million in incentives. But the money wasn’t the only reason.

“I wanted to know why. I wanted to get a definite post-mortem,” Perdue told The Atlanta Journal & Constitution. He said that Raymond Gilmartin, Merck’s chief executive officer, told him that North Carolina offered “a higher critical mass of qualified workers, particularly with the number of PhDs they needed. We were not persuasive enough.”

After meeting in a special session last week, the North Carolina legislature has offered Merck $24 million to buy and develop land in Durham for the vaccine manufacturing plant. The primary focus will be on vaccines for measles, mumps, rubella and chickenpox.

Merck is the first beneficiary of the Life Sciences Revenue Bond Authority (LSRBA) that the General Assembly created last Wednesday.

Gilmartin reiterated the labor pool point in an interview with the Atlanta newspaper.

“Financial incentives were involved, but the final decision swung on the skill base available,” he said. “There is a lot of biotech activity in the Research Triangle.”

The plant will be built in the Treyburn development and will cost as much as $300 million. It is expected to product up to 300 jobs.