Even as top state officials celebrated the opening of Thermo Fisher Scientific’s new Center of Excellence as a step forward in their efforts to strengthen Massachusetts' position as a global player in field of biotechnology research, development and manufacturing, there was a somewhat more subdued but no less significant celebration going on among Tewksbury officials.
David Gay, Chairman of the Board Selectmen, and Town Manager Richard Montuori led a Tewksbury contingent in attendance at Monday's ribbon-cutting ceremony for the company's 156,000-square-foot facility on Radcliffe Road.
Thermo Fisher is the first company Tewksbury officials have successfully lured to town using an attractive tax incentive package, made possible when the town was marked as an Economic Target Area by the state.
The company spent $20 million to purchase and renovate the vacant Radcliffe Road property and then relocated 400 jobs that had been divided between their former Wilmington and Billerica plants and consolidated them in the new Center of Excellence. In addition, the company has pledged to add an additional 100 jobs in the next five years.
Gay said he hopes Thermo Fisher is just the first of many major companies willing to locate in Tewksbury.
"If it goes this well, this smoothly," said Gay. "I think this will serve as a template."
Gay gave the lion's share of the credit to Planning Board Chairwoman Nancy Reed and Community Development Director Steve Sadwick for shepherding Thermo Fisher through the permitting process.
"They did a great job of helping (Thermo Fisher) come here," he said.
State Sen. Barry Finegold, D-Andover, also attended the ribbon-cutting and agreed that Tewksbury took a strong business-friendly posture in its handling of Thermo Fisher.
"Thermo Fisher could have chosen a lot of different locations to consolidate (their operations)," said Finegold. "The fact that they chose Tewksbury is an endorsement of the good things going on in Tewksbury. (It shows) how friendly and how easy it was to work with the town."
The ribbon-cutting was attended by Gov. Deval Patrick, U.S. Sen. John Kerry and Congressman John Tierney (D-6th District), as well as Finegold and state Rep. Jim Miceli.
Patrick said the opening of the new Thermo Fisher facility was particularly significant, with the state preparing to host at estimated 17,000 people at the BIO International Convention in Boston this weekend.
“Massachusetts leads the world in life sciences thanks to our growth strategy of investing in education, innovation and infrastructure,” said Patrick. “I want to congratulate Thermo Fisher on the opening of their new facility in Tewksbury and on their plans for future expansion in Mass. We look forward to working with them to create more jobs and opportunities in the Commonwealth.”
Kerry alluded to the strong job growth in the biotechnology field in the Bay State in the past decade and said companies like Thermo Fisher, which develop cutting edge technology, allow Massachusetts to be able to compete in the global market.
"This is what it's all about -- jobs. Making life safer and providing protection where protection is needed," said Kerry. "I'm excited to be here today because this is the future. We need to keep pushing the curve and keep thinking outside the box."
Thermo Fisher employs roughly 39,000 workers globally, including 1,400 in Massachusetts. According to information provided by the company, the Center of Excellence in Tewksbury will be primarily producing three portable, hand-held analytical devices:
- TruScan Raman spectrometers, which are used by pharmaceutical companies to ensure product integrity and safeguard consumers.
- Niton XL3t GOLDD+ Series X-ray fluorescence spectrometers used by the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission and consumer product companies for the non-destructive screening of materials for harmful elements.
- TruNarc, a powerful new analyzer based on Raman spectroscopy that is used by law enforcement for the rapid identification of suspected narcotics.
“This new Center of Excellence creates a strong base for our continued growth in portable and handheld instruments – high-tech tools that are enabling our customers to make the world safer," said Marc Casper, president and CEO of Thermo Fisher. "We’ve been able to take analytical technologies that were typically only found in the laboratory, and adapt them for use in the field by non-scientists. Our $20 million investment in this world-class facility reaffirms our commitment to Massachusetts and a growing economy that is fueled by new scientific discoveries.”