Alex Philippidis Senior News Editor Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News

Thermo Fisher is eliminating 655 jobs as Life Tech purchase looms.

The Sunshine State’s warming up to Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS). Florida’s Hillsborough County will spend $6,000 for each of the 579 jobs BMS plans to create there over the next four years—but the state’s expense remains a secret.

BMS joined Gov. Rick Scott on July 18 in announcing a new $38 million Center for Advanced Medical Learning and Simulation (CAMLS). Set to open in January 2014, CAMLS will initially house up to 250 staffers with jobs in information technology, marketing services, business and finance services, and other functions supporting BMS’ U.S. biopharmaceutical business. By 2017, BMS plans to base there more than 325 additional jobs supporting scientific and technical activities.

A day earlier, Hillsborough’s Board of County Commissioners approved up to $2,156,800 for BMS over seven years, starting FY 2015. The funds will be combined with now-undisclosed state funds; Florida will keep that data confidential until May 2014, six months after the expected execution of a contract with the state Department of Economic Opportunity.

Documents from Hillsborough County show that as of last month, officials envisioned a $6.974 million package:

  • $3.5 million consisting of $2.038 million from the state Quick Action Closing Fund (QACF), created to surpass incentives from competing states for high-wage jobs, and $1.462 million from the county.
  • A $3.474 million Qualified Targeted Industries (QTI) tax refund for higher-wage employers, calculated at $6,000 per job—a $4,000 “base” plus a $2,000 “high-impact sector bonus.” The county will pay $694,800 and the state, the rest.

Florida has budgeted $86 million in 2013–2014 for QTI, QACF, and a third program, Sean Helton of the state’s public-private economic-development partnership Enterprise Florida, told GEN.

The average annual salary of the Florida jobs will be $65,000. BMS won’t quantify its savings over the pay of the nearly 200 workers it will eliminate in Plainsboro, NJ. According to data last updated July 10, annual salaries for 27 BMS job titles in Plainsboro ranged from $52,135 for an executive assistant to $171,744 for a U.S. marketing director.

BMS’ jobs will pay 157% of the state’s private-sector average wage of $41,401. “The majority of the positions at our new facility will be filled by people living in the Tampa Bay area. We expect no more than 10% to be filled by employees relocating from New Jersey,” a BMS official, Frederick J. Egenolf, told GEN.

Among factors in BMS’ decision was proximity to potential partners, which include University of South Florida Health (USF Health), H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute, and H. Lee Moffitt’s for-profit personalized medicine subsidiary M2Gen. “It is too early to know how we might collaborate with other life sciences and health care companies in the Tampa Bay area,” Egenolf said.

Thermo Fisher Scientific: 655 Job Cuts Disclosed

Thermo Fisher Scientific late last week quietly disclosed plans to eliminate nearly 2% of its workforce—655 employees, to be exact—for which it will pay $31 million in severance, part of a total $93.2 million in restructuring and other costs recorded in the first six months of this year.

A Thermo Fisher spokesman told GEN that the charges included selling, general and administrative expenses of $10.3 million for transaction costs related to the planned acquisition of Life Technologies, primarily representing third-party legal fees of the acquisition. Thermo Fisher on April 15 announced plans to acquire Life Tech for $13.6 billion, plus $2.2 billion in debt. The deal is set to close early next year.

According to its 10-Q second-quarter results filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, Thermo Fisher shed 340 of the positions during the second three months of the year ending June 30 through $12.8 million in Q2 charges. Nearly half those positions (150) were laboratory products and services employees, followed by 110 specialty diagnostics staffers and 80 analytical technologies workers.

For the first six months of this year, however, the largest share of eliminated positions (250, or 38%) were in analytical technologies, followed by 220 in lab products and services and 185 in specialty diagnostics. Those reductions resulted in severance charges of $9.4 million, $12.8 million, and $8.8 million, respectively. Additionally, Thermo Fisher took a combined $9.4 million in first-half charges reflecting abandoned-facility costs and other cash costs for each segment, primarily retention, relocation, and moving expenses associated with facility consolidations, as well as outplacement costs for severed employees.

The 10-Q filing did not disclose where the laid-off employees were based.

This story has been updated to include comment from a Thermo Fisher spokesman, and corrected from an earlier version misstating total restructuring costs and their relation to the company’s pending Life Technologies acquisition.

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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