The End of AstraZeneca in Westborough

The AstraZeneca plant in Westborough has announced it will shut its doors permanently by the end of 2015. This is the final step the company has taken to shut down the plant, having already decreased employee levels there from 800 to just 180.  More employees will be relieved by March, but others will remain employed until the company closes at the end of 2015.

The closing of the facility means the city of Westborough will lose its biggest taxpayer. The AstraZeneca plant pays the city an estimated $2 million in total; $360,000 in property taxes and $1,548,547 for equipment taxes. Residents and businesses in Westborough will begin to feel the pinch of the revenue loss in fiscal year 2017.

City officials hope to fill the vacancy quickly.   The building is 420,000 square feet and could be a great site for a wide spectrum of businesses.

The AstraZeneca plant processed the asthma treatment Pulmicort Respules, which will now be produced at the company’s locations in Sweden and Australia. A company representative stated the move is to attain “increased efficiencies in our global supply chain.”

AstraZeneca will continue to house its research-and-development operations in Massachusetts, with facilities in both Waltham and Cambridge.

Shire Moving Headquarters to Lexington

Pharmaceutical company Shire, PLC says its plans to make Lexington, Massachusetts its U.S. operational headquarters and will begin the transfer of more than 500 jobs there from its Chesterbrook, Pennsylvania, site.

The drugmaker is headquartered on the British island of Jersey and currently has about 5,000 employees around the world, including 1,300 in Lexington and about 970 in Chesterbrook.

Shire said Wednesday that the transition is part of a larger effort to increase efficiency and streamline its business globally through two principal locations – Massachusetts and Switzerland – with support from a number of regional and country-based offices around the world.

According to company representatives, condensing operations into two principle locations will save $25 million annually and is expected to strengthen collaboration and research. Shire plans to move the employees in several phases, beginning in the first quarter of 2015 and projecting completion by the first quarter of 2016. Employees who are directly impacted but do not relocate will be offered severance, outplacement service and other employee assistance.

James Bowling, interim chief financial officer, will leave the company in February and Jeff Poulton, its head of investor relations, will assume the role of interim CFO in January.

Shares of Shire traded in the U.S. slipped $1.22 to $208.78 in afternoon trading, in line with broader market activity.