1/7/2013 3:21:49 PM
The Business Review: AMRI relocating jobs from Washington lab to Albany, Buffalo
The Business Review
Albany Molecular Research Inc. is shifting jobs from a research lab it is closing in Washington state to Albany, New York.
And a new research center the drug company is opening in Buffalo, said CEO Thomas D’Ambra.
D’Ambra said four or five of the 25 jobs in Washington will relocate to the Albany area, where AMRI has 600 of its 1,400 employees. Another 15 or so jobs will relocate to Buffalo. He said a few jobs could be moved to AMRI’s Singapore plant.
AMRI expects to have the Washington state plant shut down by the end of March.
AMRI (Nasdaq: AMRI) is a 21-year-old drug discovery company that researches and produces drugs on a contract basis. It holds patents tied to the active ingredient in the allergy medication Allegra. Its local operations are in Albany, East Greenbush and Rensselaer, as well as Syracuse.
Last month, it announced plans to open a research center and labs in Buffalo. AMRI will locate 75 jobs at the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus over the next five years. The state is investing $50 million that will go toward research equipment and lab renovations at the campus. Private investments from equipment suppliers and other drug companies, including AMRI, are expected to total $200 million.
D’Ambra said the decision to shut down the Washington site was made with the opening the Buffalo research lab in mind. But he said it would have no impact on its Albany operations. Instead, he said, it will strengthen the company overall.
“We think that with the state’s help we’ll be able to leverage our resources better and it will help us be able to position our offerings with third party companies,” D’Ambra said. “Our activities in the Albany area are very healthy, strong. Our Rensselaer plant had a record year last year and it looks now as we’re putting our budget for 2013 [together] that it’s going to have another record this year.”
He said the Rensselaer plant alone will account for nearly $100 million in revenue for 2012. AMRI had $208 million of revenue in 2011. The company also recorded a combined $112 million of net losses from 2009 through 2011, but was expected to close 2012 near profitabilty.
“We’re investing in Rensselaer. Our lab business is showing signs that the downturn is starting to end and early signs that we’re growing here again as well,” D’Ambra said. “We’re really committed to what we’re doing here, there’s no real plans to change.”
AMRI will be an anchor tenant in Buffalo that Gov. Andrew Cuomo said would house more than 250 jobs in the pharmaceutical industry. But Alain Kaloyeros, CEO of the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering (CNSE), said suppliers in the industry already have committed to locating 260 jobs on the site, but declined to name companies. Kaloyeros, who played a role in leading AMRI to locate a research hub in Buffalo, said these positions are high-level research jobs that pay $80,000 to $125,000 a year. An announcement on these jobs is expected in the next few weeks, he said.