Yale Daily News

Two years after the global biopharmaceutical company Alexion moved their headquarters from New Haven to Boston, the company announced on Wednesday that it would invest approximately $10 million into expanding their Global Product Development Lab in the Elm City.

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The company, which was founded in New Haven in 1992, moved its headquarters to Boston amid a company restructuring in 2017. Its research and development center — which it is now looking to expand — remained in New Haven. According to a press release, Alexion hopes that this investment will help them improve their capacity to develop treatments and “[diversify] … the company’s pipeline.”

“The expansion also represents a great opportunity to the city’s and state’s highly skilled and trained process development scientists, analysts and engineers to join Alexion’s inspiring efforts to develop new, life-changing medicines for people living with devastating rare diseases,” the company said in their press release.

Although Alexion was founded in New Haven, the company was based out of Cheshire for 16 years before returning to its original home in early 2016. At that time, the state promised the company up to $52 million in loans, grants and tax breaks — around half of which Alexion returned after deciding to move to Boston in 2017.

Still, Alexion’s research operations stayed in New Haven, where they currently employ approximately 500 residents. Gov. Ned Lamont and members of the state’s bioscience community praised the company’s announcement to invest $10 million into their center by the end of 2020.

“Even though [Alexion] moved their headquarters to Boston a few years ago, their R&D never left New Haven, which currently employs 500+ people,” said Dawn Hocevar, the president and CEO of BioCT, an organization that supports the growth of the bioscience community in the state. “Alexion’s expansion in New Haven will be tapping into the stellar talent that is in the state and coming out of our universities.”

Michael Harris of the Elm City Innovation Collaborative, a volunteer organization that promotes the city’s innovation sector, also applauded the investment, describing it in an interview with the News as a “wonderful example of how Alexion never really left the state.”

Lamont highlighted the job opportunities that the investment would create in New Haven and spoke about the growing strength of the state’s bioscience industry in the press release.

“Connecticut has the most highly trained, best-educated workers in the nation, and Alexion’s expansion of its New Haven laboratory signifies progress in our state’s bioscience industry and an opportunity to grow good paying, high quality jobs here,” Lamont said. “When a company of this size chooses to expand in our state, it signifies the strength of the relationship between our state and this growing industry.”

Alexion — founded by Yale professor Leonard Bell — was one of Yale’s Science Park’s greatest successes. In 2011, the company was added to the Nasdaq-100, a stock market index of the 100 largest nonfinancial stocks traded on the Nasdaq composite. In 2012, the company joined the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index. As of 2016, it had 3,000 employees and was active in 50 countries.

Connecticut has offered assistance to the company for decades. In addition to receiving financial help in 2016 — when the company moved back to New Haven from Cheshire — Alexion also received $50 million from Connecticut taxpayers as part of a new economic development program in 2012. Throughout former Gov. Dannel Malloy’s administration, Alexion was given a number of tax breaks codified under state law.

For Malloy, Alexion’s transformation from a startup to a multinational company was one of the state’s great success stories.

Alexion — along with Cigna, ESPN and NBC sports — signed up to receive direct state aid and tax breaks from Connecticut by participating in the First Five job creation initiative. Implemented during Malloy’s tenure in 2011, the program provides financial incentives to businesses that create a minimum of 200 full-time jobs in Connecticut within two or five years from the time their applications to the program are approved, depending on the size of the company’s investment.

Alexion’s Global Product Development Lab is located at 100 College St.

Ali Bauman contributed reporting.

Aakshi Chaba | aaakshi.chaba@yale.edu