OSI leaves Long Island after "failing to make biotech work"

By Gareth Macdonald

- Last updated on GMT

US biotechnology group OSI Pharmaceuticals will move HQ to a facility in Greenburgh, New York due, according to observers, to the high cost of land at its current base in Long Island.

OSI, which developed the oncology drug Tarceva (erlotinib), was originally based at the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory cancer research center and has been based at the Farmingdale State College for over ten years.

Under the propsed relocation plan, the firm will pay $27m (€19.4m) for the 43 acre, 400,000 sq ft Greenburgh laboratory and office space that has been empty since former occupant Purdue Pharma left in 2005.

Speculation about a major OSI move away from Long Island emerged early last month when the Long Island Business News​ reported that the firm was mulling New York as a potential new base of operations.

Now that the move has been confirmed, OSI expects to begin renovating the facility next month and plans to relocate 350 employees from facilities in Melville and Farmingdale, New York, Boulder, Colorado and Cedar Knolls, New Jersey this year.

The firm expects that the move, coupled with wider synergies provided by its consolidation efforts, will generate annual savings of around $15m a year from the fourth quarter next year.

CEO Colin Goddard said that: “We have recognised that we will only truly capture the full strategic value of our oncology franchise if we simplify our business by bringing together all the elements of our US operations onto a single site.

After an extensive and highly competitive process involving the exploration of options in multiple different states, we have identified a campus that will represent a first-rate facility for our company and provide for all foreseeable expansion needs over the next several years​.”

Newsday.com​ suggested that the Greenburgh site’s price tag was the most critical factor in the move, describing it as “puny” in comparison with the cost of building a new facility in Long Island.

Goddard told the website that OSI has tried to make biotechnology work in Long Island but has been unable to and suggested that: “With us going, it's going to be a real challenge to make it happen in the future."

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