Viatris, after closing massive West Virginia plant, sells it for $1

There will be no need to take a wrecking ball to Mylan’s former manufacturing plant in Morgantown, West Virginia.

The former factory, which once housed more than 1,400 employees and was closed last summer, has been sold to West Virginia University for $1.

The university and WVU Medicine will oversee the building’s transformation, hoping to turn the 1.1 million-square-foot complex into an incubator for life science businesses large and small.

WVU Medicine CEO Albert Wright called the manufacturing and warehouse facilities “pristine,” and said he envisions the complex having the look of a shopping mall.

“We’re excited about the companies that have expressed interest,” Wright said during a press conference. “Some of the lab space is gorgeous.”

The initiative helps Mylan, now dubbed Viatris after a merger with Pfizer’s generics unit Upjohn, put a potentially happy ending on a story that drew national attention when the closure was announced in December 2020.

In addition to the move coming during the throes of the coronavirus pandemic, West Virginia has been hit particularly hard by the fleeing of businesses and the opioid crisis.

Soon after the announcement, West Virginia Sen. Mike Caputo introduced a resolution asking Gov. Jim Justice to work with the state’s congressional delegation to repurpose the site and save jobs.

As part of the deal for the plant, the university will provide free scholarships to those were impacted by its closure.

“Our goal has always been to identify a responsible new steward for this unique site that would secure the best possible future for the facility, our impacted employees and the Morgantown community,” said Viatris CEO Robert J. Coury said in a statement. 

The deal comes after Viatris signed a memorandum of understanding with WVU to pursue a transfer of the site.