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Bristol-Myers plans $250M Mass. expansion

1:38 am by | 0 Comments

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BOSTON - Bristol-Myers Squibb's $250 million Devens expansion will shift jobs from New York and New Jersey and open the biopharmaceutical company to additional state tax incentives.

The New York company plans to expand its 89-acre biologics manufacturing facility -- completed in 2009 for $750 million -- and add 350 jobs to its already 400-strong workforce.

"This is a huge deal," said Susan Windham-Bannister, CEO of the quasi-public Massachusetts Life Sciences Center. "It's part of a trend that we've been seeing where large companies -- literally nine out of the top 10 global leaders in biopharma -- have a presence in Massachusetts."

Biologics -- proteins derived from living cells -- are increasingly important for treatment of serious diseases and a growing part of Bristol-Myers' pipeline of potential new drugs, according to spokesman John Patella.

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The two new buildings totaling 200,000 square feet will add new capabilities to the drugmaker's Devens complex, which has focused on large-scale, bulk biologics manufacturing. One will be dedicated to process development -- developing ways to manufacture new molecules coming out of the discovery stage and prepping for production scale-up. The other will house clinical manufacturing of investigational medicines to support clinical trials.

Centralizing both in one location is designed to accelerate Bristol-Myers' development and launch of new products, Patella said.

The 350 added jobs will include relocated workers and new hires. Bristol-Myers has leased temporary lab space in Hopkinton to begin shifting jobs closer to Devens and start hiring.

The company expects to save an estimated $5 million, or 38 percent, over 13 years in incremental new property taxes on the expansion. The MassDevelopment abatement requires it to maintain at least 550 Devens jobs during the period. Under a tax package sealed in 2007, when Bristol-Myers started building its current 400,000-square-foot facility, it secured a $35 million abatement over 20 years for keeping 350 jobs.

The company also will be able to apply for the MLSC's job-based tax incentive program when the next application round opens in July.

Bristol-Myers expects to start construction later this year and complete the expansion in 2015. ___

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By Goodison, Donna

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