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December 11, 2023

UMass Chan to lay off 36 from Boston vaccine division

A view of UMass Chan Medical School from Plantation Street in Worcester. Photo | Timothy Doyle UMass Chan Medical School in Worcester

UMass Chan Medical School is reducing its workforce at its Boston biologics and vaccine manufacturing division, MassBiologics, with more layoffs potentially coming in the next 90 days.

The Worcester medical school will eliminate 36 positions at MassBiologics in February, according to a Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification it filed.

“It is reasonably foreseeable that additional layoffs may occur within the next ninety (90) days,” David LaChappelle, director of employee and labor relations for UMass Chan wrote in a letter accompanying the WARN notice.

MassBiologics is a nonprofit vaccine manufacturer producing tetanus-diphtheria vaccines. 

The eliminated positions are across a number of job functions, according to the letter. Eight eliminations are of manufacturing associates. 

Employees impacted will receive severance and outplacement service assistance, according to a statement sent to WBJ on Monday.

The decision is a result of impacts on the local, regional and nationwide life sciences and vaccine manufacturing sectors. The layoffs are intended to right-size operations. 

“While a reduction in our workforce is always regrettable and a last resort, MassBiologics is not immune from market-related factors impacting so many biotech and life sciences companies at this time which include, but are not limited to, high overhead, underutilized biomanufacturing capacity and, in this case, steadily waning demand for Td [tetanus-diphtheria] vaccine,” Sarah Willey, media relations manager at UMass Chan, said in a Monday statement sent to the Worcester Business Journal. 

In March, the medical school eliminated 26 positions at MassBiologics. In November, UMass Chan announced 70 jobs would be eliminated from its purview as a contract expired. 

MassBiologics has 120 employees. There will be 84 employees after the layoffs are completed in February.

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