In 2013, Merck & Co. (known as MSD outside North America) announced it was shutting two facilities in New Jersey as part of planned global operations cuts designed to save the firm $2.5bn (€2.3bn) and reduce (mostly R&D) headcount by 16,000.
A manufacturing plant closed at Merck’s now global headquarters in Kenilworth in September 2013, while production at a site in Summit was due to cease this year. But fellow pharma firm Celgene has stepped in to buy Summit, the company confirmed.
“It is probably too early to know what our definitive plans are for the site,” Celgene spokesman Gregory Geissman told in-Pharmatechnologist.com, but added the additional site “gives us the opportunity to potentially consolidate employees from other sites in New Jersey, and have space to expand into as we continue our growth as a company.”
Celgene, which is headquartered in Summit, has five other sites across New Jersey. This latest property adds around 850,000 square feet of administrative space and 450,000 of predominantly R&D facilities.
Over the past few weeks, Celgene has entered into a $1bn, 10-year immunotherapy partnership to bring Juno Therapeutics’ T-Cell platform to market, as well as spending $7.2bn to acquire California-based biotech Receptos.
However, the decision to buy Sunnit “does not have to do with our recent business development deals,” Geissman said.
The news will come as some relief to the City of Summit which has been somewhat in limbo during Merck’s pull-out.
In a State of the City speech presented in January, Summit Mayor Ellen Dickson said elected officials had been working closely with Merck representatives to find a buyer for the 88 acre campus.
Merck was Summit’s largest tax payer, paying around $9m annually in property taxes, but “the City has to be prepared for the reality that Merck taxes may be lower in the future until the property is sold,” she said.