Less than one year after being awarded a nearly $2 million tax incentive for its commitment to create and retain 125 jobs in Lexington, Takeda Pharmaceuticals has told the state it now plans to lay off 146 of its Lexington workers and another 495 employees based in Cambridge.

The company, which has a headquarters of U.S. operations in Cambridge, revealed the plan to lay off 641 Massachusetts employees between early July 2024 and March 2025 in a filing made last week pursuant to the federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act. The news was previously reported by the Boston Business Journal, which said the company is Massachusetts’s largest life sciences employer.

On May 30, 2023, Gov. Maura Healey and the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center announced that Takeda was one of 43 life sciences companies to be awarded a share of $24.4 million in tax incentives that were expected to create a cumulative 1,584 new life sciences industry jobs in Massachusetts. Takeda’s $1.875 million incentive award came as a result of a commitment to expand in Lexington, with 125 new jobs pledged. 

Healey’s office said at the time that companies that get awards through the MSLC’s Tax Incentive Program “are required to maintain job commitments over a five-year period.”

Takeda’s media relations team said Wednesday afternoon that the company “was awarded credits but did not claim them/use them” and terminated its agreement with the MLSC in January or February. A spokesman for the MLSC told the News Service on Wednesday afternoon that the MLSC terminated Takeda’s award in February 2024, after the company voluntarily flagged that its hiring plans were expected to change.

Takeda said the Massachusetts layoffs “are being made within very specific areas of the organization to make sure we are structured in a way to best meet our current and future needs.” The company said it “is also continuing to actively hire” in Massachusetts.

“We have been in touch with Takeda and understand that this is not just impacting Massachusetts but is part of a global restructuring. We are confident that Takeda remains committed to Massachusetts and are grateful to have the company on Team Massachusetts as a key player in our life science ecosystem,” Margaret Quackenbush, spokesperson for the Executive Office of Economic Development, told the News Service.

The news that the major life sciences employer is trimming its workforce in Massachusetts comes ahead of next week’s BIO convention in San Diego and as Healey’s economic development bill, which calls for reauthorizing the state’s life sciences initiative at $1 billion for another decade, remains pending before the Legislature.

Massachusetts is home to 18 of the 20 largest life sciences companies in the world, Healey has said. And since the state’s taxpayer-backed life sciences push began with a $1 billion investment under former Gov. Deval Patrick in 2008, the biopharma industry workforce has grown by over 110 percent and now boasts more than 117,000 emplo

(Copyright (c) 2024 State House News Service.

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