Bristol-Myers Squibb to lay off 149 as Wallingford, Connecticut, site nears closure

BMS will cut an additional 149 jobs as it plans to shut down its Wallingford, Connecticut, site by year's end. (Bristol-Myers Squibb)

Following an earlier layoff round affecting 107 employees, Bristol-Myers Squibb is cutting an additional 149 staffers at its Wallingford, Connecticut, R&D site, with the aim to completely close it by the end of this year.

As BMS’ disclosure to Connecticut’s Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) system shows, the new layoff round started in April and will last until mid-August.

The Wallingford closure is part of a broader R&D reorganization Bristol-Myers detailed in late 2016. At that time, the U.S. pharma also dropped plans to build a Connecticut Development site, retreating from the state all together. BMS said it will shut down its Hopewell, New Jersey site used as a research, data and administrative center by mid-2020 as it opens another one in the state in Lawrenceville, and will not renew its lease next year for a site in Seattle.

In contrast, BMS is expected to open a new discovery lab in Cambridge, Massachusetts, this year, and has been expanding a research campus in Redwood City, California, which houses biologics drug discovery activities focused on antibody therapeutics.

After these revamps, the company is clustering its U.S. R&D efforts in three hubs at Central New Jersey, the San Francisco Bay Area and Cambridge, Massachusetts.

“These important changes to our U.S. geographic footprint will ensure we have the structural, operational and financial flexibility to deliver as effectively as possible on our mission for patients,” said CEO Giovanni Caforio, M.D., at the time.

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BMS has been gradually reducing its headcount at the Wallingford site through small layoffs that only affected 10 or so employees at a time. But as the planned shutdown nears, the company has accelerated the process, having already removed 107 employees from the site this year. The company previously said it looked to move many of the roles from Wallingford, Hopewell and Seattle to other U.S. locations.

According to BMS’ website, the Wallingford facility, built with almost 1 million square feet of space, is focused on drug R&D activities. BMS has already reached a $5 million deal to sell the facility to Massachusetts real estate firm Calare Properties, which has said that it is looking to rent the building out to other biopharma tenants.