Alex Philippidis Senior News Editor Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News

Bayer HealthCare consolidates in NJ; BMS lands a new Florida home.

Think of biopharma jobs, and Massachusetts is among the first places that come to mind. But last year the state’s biopharma workforce rose only a trickle—to 56,462 jobs, up 365 or 0.007% from 2011, according to the Massachusetts Biotechnology Council (MassBio).

Why so flat?

One reason: Massachusetts has yet to see the growth expected from several expansions now under construction. Next year’s numbers are expected to include new jobs following completions of new headquarters of Vertex Pharmaceuticals at Fan Pier on the South Boston waterfront; and new Cambridge, MA, sites for Biogen Idec, Novartis, and Pfizer.

“Some of the expansion we thought we’d see reflected in the 2012 numbers didn’t quite hit,” Peter Abair, MassBio’s director of economic development and global affairs, told GEN.

Another reason is competition from elsewhere—especially New York City, where new facilities like the Alexandria Center™ for Life Science helped R&D jobs grow 41.7% between 2007–2012, versus 13.1% for Massachusetts. The Bay State still has nearly three times as many R&D jobs—3,227 vs. 1,117 for New York, which Abair noted has only recently nurtured institutional spinouts growing into biopharma businesses.

One bright spot for Massachusetts: Most of its largest 30 biopharma employers added jobs last year. Exceptions include AstraZeneca, Eisai, EMD Serono, Lantheus, Parexel International, and Sunovion Pharmaceuticals.

Massachusetts also showed nearly 40% biopharma job growth between 2003–2012, 12 times faster than state and national growth for all employment. But most of that growth occurred before the 2007–09 recession. The post-recession job slowdown will be studied in a report due out next year along with the 2014 Snapshot.

“The industry itself is on its two feet again since the recession, so we would want to see that reflected in the employment numbers in ‘13 and ’14,” Abair said.

Bayer Healthcare: No Tarry-ing Out of NY

Bayer HealthCare will shut down by month’s end the Tarrytown, NY, offices that have served as both its U.S. headquarters and global headquarters of its Diabetes Care Division. It’s part of a move announced in 2011 to consolidate East Coast operations from there and three other New Jersey sites to Whippany, NJ.

Bayer has promised to create 500 new jobs and keep another 1,000 in New Jersey, in return for about $40 million in benefits—$25 million in grants through the Business Employment Incentive Program; $14.094 million in Business Retention & Relocation Assistance grants; and $1.225 million in sales use and tax exemptions.

According to a WARN Act notice filed with New York’s Department of Labor, all 175 Tarrytown-based employees have been offered the opportunity to transfer to Whippany. “It is unknown how many will take advantage of the option to transfer,” the company stated.

The employee number remains unknown, Bayer HealthCare spokeswoman Susan Yarin told GEN.

Bristol-Myers Squibb: Room to Grow in Florida

Bristol-Myers Squibb announced a specific site for the $38 million Center for Advanced Medical Learning and Simulation (CAMLS) it will build near Tampa, in Florida’s Hillsborough County (see “JobWatch: What Price BMS Jobs? $6,000 (and More)”, published August 9 in GEN).

The pharma giant agreed to lease 73,000 square feet at 5104 Eisenhower Blvd., more than half the building that housed the International Academy of Design and Technology, which last week finished moving its campus within the Tampa region.

Frederick J. Egenolf, a BMS official, told GEN the company chose the building for reasons “including its central location for potential employees in Tampa, St. Petersburg, and surrounding communities in the Tampa Bay region; its proximity to Interstate 275, Courtney Campbell Causeway, Veterans Expressway, Dale Mabry Highway and mass transit; as well as the nearby restaurants, hotel, conference center, and institutions of higher education.”

“The building is also conveniently located near Tampa International Airport,” Egenolf added.

The building also has rights to add about 100,000 square feet of space—rights BMS says it is unlikely to use for now. “While we are aware of the potential for expansion at the site, the existing 130,000 square feet will meet our needs through 2017,” Egenolf said.

Share your news of biopharma employment ups, downs, and trends with JobWatch. Please email Alex Philippidis at [email protected] or via Twitter at @AlexWestchester.

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