Merck KGaA Lays Off Some Employees in Shutdown of Its Massachusetts Accounting Office

Published: Jan 12, 2017

Merck KGaA Lays Off Some Employees in Shutdown of Its Massachusetts Accounting Office January 12, 2017
By Alex Keown, Breaking News Staff

QUINCY, Mass. – Germany-based Merck KgaA has laid off 43 employees at a company accounting office in a Boston suburb. The company plans to completely shutter the office by March, a company spokesperson told the Boston Business Journal. The cuts, which were announced Jan. 3 in a WARN notice, are part of a company realignment, according to reports. Although pink slips were handed out, the spokesperson told the Journal that some of the employees at the office will be shifted to other divisions within the company. How many of those employees will find work elsewhere in the company was not provided. Merck informed the Quincy office in August of the coming terminations, the Journal reported.

On Jan. 10, the company announced expansion of its end-to-end biodevelopment centers in Europe, China and the Boston area. The Boston-area process development center is new, the company said. The new facility will provide a full range of process development capabilities and services. That includes cell line development services, both upstream and downstream process development, as well as non-GMP clinical production, Merck said in a released statement.

Merck KGaA operates its U.S. and Canadian biopharmaceutical business as EMD Serono. Although Merck is shutting down the accounting office, the company spokesperson told the Journal that Merck remains “committed to its growing presence in the U.S.” In July 2016, Merck announced plans to build a new $115 million facility in Burlington, Mass. for its North American life sciences subsidiary, MilliporeSigma, and shift employees from its existing site in nearby Billerica. The facility, which will include a customer collaboration laboratory, training center and office space, will be located in the town of Burlington, just outside of Boston. The collaboration center, called M Lab Collaboration Center, will be a state-of-the-art, shared, exploratory environment where the company's scientists and engineers work together with customers to help solve their toughest life science challenges.

Earlier this week, Merck KGaA struck a $230 million deal with Boston-based Vertex Pharmaceuticals for the rights to four cancer programs. The company said the four products will strengthen its oncology pipeline in DNA damage and repair and immuno-oncology, which includes VX-970 and VX-803, both of which are ataxia telangiectasia and Rad3 related (ATR) programs. VX-970 is being investigated broadly through 10 ongoing Phase I and Phase II trials across a variety of tumors and patient subtypes expected to be responsive to ATR inhibition based on biomarker data, according to company data. VX-803 is an orally dosed ATR inhibitor currently in Phase I trials evaluating escalating doses of VX-803 alone and in combination with chemotherapy.

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