About 100 Biogen workers lose their jobs as biomanufacturing plant changes hands

Biogen has transferred a plant and warehouse in the Cambridge, MA area to CDMO Brammer Bio.

Biogen has found someone to take over an aging biomanufacturing plant in Cambridge that was set to close at month's end but the new owner will hire only about half of the employees, leaving about 100 or so others out of work.

Biogen has transferred the assets of the 67,000-square-foot manufacturing facility in Cambridge and a nearby warehouse to Lexington-based Brammer Bio, the Boston Business Journal reports. Brammer, which will take possession in January, intends to hire 104 Biogen employees now working at the two facilities, a spokesman told the newspaper.

When Biogen announced last summer that it would sell or close the facilities, it had indicated 250 to 285 employees would be affected as it moved work to more efficient manufacturing operations like its plant in North Carolina. Biogen is also building a $1 billion plant in Switzerland, where it expects to add 400 jobs when it is complete in 2021.

Neither Biogen or Brammer responded by deadline to a request for comment.

Brammer Bio is a new CDMO, formed in March through the merger of Brammer Biopharmaceuticals and Alachua, FL-based Florida Biologix. Earlier this year, Brammer said it would invest about $50 million in a 50,000-square-foot facility in Lexington for the production of late-stage and commercial-scale viral vector and cell-based therapies.

Biogen started trimming operations and costs last year after announcing it would eliminate 11% of its workforce, about 880 jobs, to save $250 million in annual operating expenses after sales of its MS drug Tecfidera sputtered. Manufacturing was always in that mix.

Industry speculation about Biogen’s future picked up this year after CEO George Scangos announced he would leave the company, stepping down as soon as a replacement was found. Some expected Biogen might be a buyout target but sources have indicated it is not looking for a partner, while analysts have said its value would make it a pricey buy.