After their success with the Redlight virus at Hope, Idaho, Blackwatch continued their research based on the outcome and Elizabeth Greene. Greene was the only survivor of the incidents at Hope. Years later, Blackwatch contacted Dr. Raymond McMullen, Director of Gentek, in order to further extend the research.
The project started on January 1, 1989. McMullen requested Blackwatch to move Elizabeth Greene to Gentek's facility at Manhattan. However, on December 1, 1992, McMullen's colleague Dr. Bradley Ragland refused to work on the project and left Gentek.
A few years later, McMullen hired Alex Mercer after he graduated. As a brilliant scientist, Mercer became a valuable asset to the project. At first, he did not know how their work was being implemented on-field or the source of the virus. This, however, did not bother Mercer, as he enjoyed experimenting with the virus. In three years, Mercer managed to make the virus more dangerous by a factor of ten, more lethal than the Redlight virus.