June 23, 2016

GE opens $27M, 500-job facility in Marlborough

Laura Finaldi
Gov. Charlie Baker addresses the crowd at the opening.

GE Healthcare Life Sciences held the grand opening for its U.S. headquarters in Marlborough on Thursday, highlighting the division's $27 million investment in the new facility.

The move to Marlborough was a major win for the city, with GE estimating about 500 will be employed at the site by 2017. The employees will be housed in the division's 210,000-square-foot facility. The facility will support cell and immune therapy research and development, biomanufacturing, as well as scientific and medical affairs support.

Marlborough Mayor Arthur Vigeant was on hand to celebrate the grand opening, as were Governor Charlie Baker and Travis McCready, president and CEO of the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center, and GE Healthcare Life Sciences president and CEO Kieran Murphy.

Although GE's corporate headquarters announced it would be moving to Boston last year, the life sciences division has been planning to come to Massachusetts for much longer, Murphy said. The company decided to come to the region partly because of its life sciences base and talent pool, and because of the proximity to Xcellerex, a biopharmaceutical company GE acquired in 2012.

"Some of the most important innovations in the world in our space happen in Massachusetts," Murphy said.

Baker emphasized the state's innovative spirit in his remarks, saying Massachusetts has always been on the forefront of deciding what the next big thing is, and how to get there.

"The fact that you picked a community like Marlborough, which … knows how to get stuff done and brings what I will call sort of a 'can do' attitude to everything it does, is exactly consistent with who we are and what I believe we're all about," he said.

A 40,000 square-foot laboratory space will support discovering new drugs and helping to develop workflows to facilitate manufacturing. In 2017, GE's FlexFactory manufacturing platform that was originally designed in Marlborough will be added, allowing the facility to undertake small batch biologic drug manufacturing.

McCready said he was impressed by the capabilities of the facility.

"It's one thing to talk about biomanufacturing and the acceleration of biomanufacturing, but it is quite another thing to walk through your lab upstairs and walk through your space upstairs and see how you're disrupting the very notion of how a company or even a destination can think about participating in the bioprocessing arena," he said.

GE Healthcare's nearby Westborough manufacturing facility also remains in operation with GE's corporate headquarters moving to Boston this summer. By the end of 2016, GE will have nearly 5,000 employees in the state, according to the company.

Worcester Business Journal Staff Writer Laura Finaldi contributed to this story.

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