Worcester Business Journal Special Editions

Central Mass. 100-2016

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12 Worcester Business Journal • May 23, 2016 www.wbjournal.com FOCUS Central Mass. 100 AbbVie Pharmaceuticals, the Illinois-based maker of rheumatoid arthritis drug Humira and a range of other medications, is one example. The company has grown its operation at Worcester Biotech Park from 700 to 800 employees over the past year. "Massachusetts is home to a strong and talented scientific community, which is important for AbbVie to take part in as we continue our investment in research and development," said Bret Coons, spokesman for the company, in an email to the Worcester Business Journal. Coons said AbbVie is continuing to grow its local operation, which includes its global center for immunology research. "AbbVie will also be adding new research-and-development -ocused jobs in Worcester this year, with positions for high-level scientists to support our growing research efforts," he said. Cambridge has long been known as one of the world's top locations for biotech companies, but the industry extends across the state. A report by the Massachusetts Biotechnology Education Foundation, the education arm of the Massachusetts Biotechnology Council (MassBio), found in the first quarter, there were 1,104 job openings in the industry in the Worcester/I-495 area. That was the second-highest number in the state, after the core Boston-Cambridge area. It was also more than double the number of opening in the same period last year. "The industry as a whole across Massachusetts is definitely in a prolonged growth period and that has not changed," said Elizabeth Steele, MassBio's eco- nomic development director. "Central Massachusetts and Worcester are growing clusters, too. As of our last snapshot, there were over 30 biotech companies in Worcester alone." Developing the culture Kevin O'Sullivan, president and CEO of Massachusetts Biomedical Initiatives, which operates an incubator for seed- stage biotech companies at Gateway Park in Worcester, said the area is a breeding ground for startups. That's partly because of the presence of larger biotech employers, as well as insti- tutions like Worcester Polytechnic Institute and UMass Medical School. O'Sullivan said the most successful entre- preneurs tend to work for a large firm for a few years after college, learning about business strategies and markets, before striking out on their own. He said a good example was the founders of Blue Sky Bioservices, a Gateway Park startup that was recently acquired by LakePharma Inc. of California. "Those guys came out of Pfizer," he said. "They understood the market for protein synthesis." Part of the state's strength for biotech companies comes from the industry corridor running from Greater Boston to Worcester, O'Sullivan said. Cambridge remains a world center for biotech sci- ence, but companies that want to avoid that city's high costs and traffic can still find a place nearby with a highly educated workforce. Marlborough, which is home to a number of com- panies including the new GE Healthcare Life Sciences headquarters, is a particular success story, Biotech is putting people to work in the Central Mass. 100 AbbVie, Inc. AbbVie jumped 12 spots in the rank of top local employers. 2016 Central Mass. 100 rank: 46th 2015 Central Mass. 100 rank: 58th Location: Worcester Industry: Pharmaceuticals Local employees in 2016: 800 Local employees in 2015: 700 Sunovion Phamaceuticals, Inc. Sunovion grew its workforce 15 percent in the last year. 2016 Central Mass. 100 rank: 63rd 2015 Central Mass. 100 rank: 81st Location: Marlborough Industry: Pharmaceuticals Local employees in 2016: 579 Local employees in 2015: 500 O'Sullivan said "Years ago, it was a basket case with huge vacancy rates," he said. "Now it's filling up." Among Marlborough's employers in the industry is Sunovion Pharmaceuticals Inc., which has grown its headcount in the region more than 15 percent, to 579, over the past year. That represents more than a third of the total workforce for the company, which special- izes in drugs to help people with central nervous system and respiratory illnesses. In an email to the Worcester Business Journal, Sunovion emphasized the importance of state and local players in encouraging growth in its sector. "Sunovion applauds efforts of organizations includ- ing the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center and 495/ MetroWest Partnership in expanding economic growth here and across the state, and in helping to make our region a key player in healthcare," the com- pany said. n I f you had to name three areas of strength for the Central Massachusetts economy, you might well choose manufacturing, health care and technology. The region has historically been a production center for the state, and, over the past several decades, it's also gained state-of-the art medical facilities and a range of tech heavy hitters. This helps explain why it's a great area for biotech companies, which bring all these fields together. BY LIVIA GERSHON Special to the Worcester Business Journal Genzyme Corp. Genzyme grew its Massachusetts workforce from 3,000 to 5,000 in the past year, even though it remained steady in Central Mass. 2016 Central Mass. 100 rank: 14th 2015 Central Mass. 100 rank: 17th Location: Framingham Industry: Biotechnology Local employees in 2016: 2,000 Local employees in 2015: 2,000 2016 Central Mass. 100 rank: 67th 2015 Central Mass. 100 rank: 79th Location: Devens Industry: Biopharmaceuticals Local employees in 2016: 565 Local employees in 2015: 530 Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. Bristol-Myers Squibb grew its workforce nearly 7 percent in the last year. The Worcester home of AbbVie, Inc., which is headquartered in Illinois. 100 CENTRAL M A S S P H O T O / C O U R T E S Y

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