Alexion to move headquarters from New Haven to Boston - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Alexion to move headquarters from New Haven to Boston

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Alexion said it will be moving its headquarters from New Haven to Boston, but leaving behind a research facility. (WFSB) Alexion said it will be moving its headquarters from New Haven to Boston, but leaving behind a research facility. (WFSB)
NEW HAVEN, CT (WFSB) -

Another Connecticut company is moving its headquarters out of the state.

On Tuesday morning, Alexion Pharmaceuticals, which is one of Gov. Dannel Malloy's "First Five" companies, announced it is moving its headquarters out of the Elm City.

However, it said its "Research Center of Excellence" will be based in New Haven.

Alexion said it's part of a restructuring plan.

"By streamlining our operations we will create a leaner organization with greater financial flexibility that is highly focused on delivering for patients, growing our rare disease business, and both leveraging our leadership in complement and pursuing disciplined business development to expand the pipeline," said Ludwig Hantson, chief executive officer, Alexion.

The headquarters move will happen by mid-2018. About 400 positions will go to Boston.

“Alexion’s 25 year history began in New Haven, and Connecticut remains a critical part of our future. We value our relationship with the state of Connecticut, and our New Haven-based research team is critical to growing and strengthening Alexion’s leadership in complement, which will allow us to fulfill our mission of serving patients and families with rare and ultra-rare diseases,” Hantson said.

About 450 positions will be based at the research facility in New Haven.

Twenty percent of its global workforce will be reduced.

The announcement surprised some people in New Haven.

"I was shocked," said Dan Belishe, who works in New Haven. "They just built it, a lot of investment for a short little period of time."

"Just to have the city built up a little bit was exciting," said Josie Pinto, who also works in New Haven. "So to hear them leave is like what's that now going to do to that plant."

New Haven Mayor Toni Harp called the move a better business arrangement rather than a knock on the Elm City.

“Alexion’s decision to move corporate functions and some headquarters staff to Boston – with access to a full-service airport and other essentials for an international corporation – seems intended to suit its new, Boston-based CEO and a worldwide sales force,” Mayor Harp said. “We’re told New Haven, with its top-tier workforce, will retain most of the company’s research operations and that hundreds of Alexion personnel will continue working at 100 College St.”

The Department of Economic and Community Development reacted to Tuesday's news. It called the decision disappointing and demanded the company repay the $26 million loan and grant with penalties.

In a statement Tuesday morning, Rep. Rosa DeLauro said "Alexion's decision to move their headquarters out of New Haven is shocking and shameful. New Haven is home to some of the most talented and brightest minds in the world, and Alexion will be worse off for leaving, both financially and intellectually. I understand that Alexion will be forced to pay back [the money], plus a 5 percent penalty, to Connecticut taxpayers as a result of moving their headquarters.”

Earlier this year, Alexion announced it was laying off 7 percent of its workforce.

Four years ago, it returned to the Elm City as part of Malloy's First Five Plus program, which offers companies incentives with the promise of creating 200 jobs within two years. As of May 2017, Alexion created 467 jobs.

Then, roughly one year after the company moved into its $100-million headquarters on College Street with state of the art labs and office space.

People in New Haven hope the move will urge lawmakers to take a closer look at how they're luring companies to the state.

"I think we're perfectly located in New England and it's not the state, it's more of what is our government? What are we doing? What are our choices?" Pinto said.

Alexion specializes in making drugs for rare diseases.

More on Alexion's changes can be read on its website here.

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