By Bonnie Adams, Managing Editor
Westborough – AstraZeneca has announced that it will be closing its facility located at 50 Otis St. at the end of 2015. As a result, 180 employees will be losing their jobs.
AstraZeneca is also Westborough’s top taxpayer. According to the Town Assessor’s office, the company paid just over $3 million in taxes in fiscal year 2013.
Once one of the area’s most prominent pharmaceutical companies, employing nearly 900 employees between its plants in Westborough and Waltham, Astra Zeneca has been reducing staff over the past decade, with prior layoffs occurring in 2009 and 2011.
AstraZeneca was formed on April 6, 1999, according to its website, “through the merger of Astra AB of Sweden and Zeneca Group PLC of the UK – two companies with similar science-based cultures and a shared vision of the pharmaceutical industry.”
Westborough officials noted they were disappointed with the news but still hopeful that a different company would be interested in purchasing or leasing the property, with its distinctive glass pyramid building once Astra Zeneca moves out.
“Astra Zeneca has had a large presence in the community since the 1980s and at one time had been a large employer and continues to be a large taxpayer in the community. While their employee base at 180 employees now is less than it has been in the past, there is still a concern for those employees that are losing their jobs,” Town Manager Jim Malloy said. “We’ve had discussions with Astra over the past year and assured them we will work with them as much as possible to help facilitate a new owner of the property.”
“Westborough was fortunate to be home to Astra Zeneca for many years, and we are grateful for the many significant contributions the company made to organizations in our community including supporting our schools through donations, and the Corridor Nine Area Chamber of Commerce through sponsorships,” Deborah Penta, the chair of the Westborough Economic Development Committee said.
Local officials are hoping, she added, that the recent initiative that the town has made towards supporting businesses seeking to expand in or move to Westborough will work favorably in helping the town attract another tenant.
“With many companies expressing interest in, and for those continuing to grow and expand in Westborough, we are optimistic that additional opportunities for local employment will be created over the next year,” Penta said.
“The Astra Zeneca property presents a great opportunity to bring a new business to Westborough that will enhance our local economy and the EDC is looking forward to helping build awareness of this real estate gem to a potential organization considering a move or expansion to our community,” she added.