RI Pharma Alexion Closing Plant and Cutting 250 Jobs

Wednesday, September 13, 2017
GoLocalProv Business Team

Alexion closing RI facility
Alexion Pharmaceuticals Inc. today announced it was pulling out of Rhode Island and slashing jobs.  The cuts in Rhode Island are at the Alexion plant in Smithfield — once the site of the failed Alpha Beta facility.

Rhode Island will realize job loss of 250 with Alexion's departure and the news hits just days after Benny’s announced the company’s closing and the loss of over 700 full and part-time jobs in the region.

"We are disappointed by today's news regarding Alexion’s restructuring moves. Our number one priority is ensuring that every Rhode Islander currently employed at Alexion is able to transition to other work. The Department of Labor and Training will be working with Alexion officials on re-employment of their employees and the Commerce Corporation will be working with them on repurposing the facility,” said RI Commerce in a statement on Tuesday morning.

The winner in the Alexion slashing is Boston, of course. The company announced that in addition to closing the RI facility and slashing jobs, it is moving its headquarters from New Haven, CT to Boston.

“By streamlining our operations we will create a leaner organization with greater financial flexibility that is highly focused on delivering for patients, growing our rare disease business, and both leveraging our leadership in complement and pursuing disciplined business development to expand the pipeline,” said Ludwig Hantson, Chief Executive Officer of Alexion in a statement. "These types of changes are difficult and we recognize that they have a personal impact on people who have been dedicated to the mission of Alexion. We thank our employees for their contributions to the achievements of Alexion. While difficult, these changes were necessary to enable the Company to deliver sustainable long-term performance to support our ability to continue to develop and deliver life-changing therapies for patients.”

Two Time Loser

Alexion's facility was funded by Rhode Island taxpayers in the early 1990s.

“In 1992, Rhode Island succeeded in enticing Alpha-Beta to build its manufacturing plant outside of Massachusetts. Rhode Island borrowed $30 million to construct the 40,000-square-foot manufacturing facility in Smithfield. In addition, Rhode Island spent about $3 million to buy a 120-acre parcel where the plant was built,” wrote Boston Business Journal in 1999.

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