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Berlex Biosciences/Bayer to Leave Richmond
I almost missed this brief bit of news from last week's West County Times because I didn't recognize Bayer as a Richmond business. I thought Bayer was in Berkeley. Today, John Troughton pointed out to me that Bayer is what I know as Berlex Biosciences, Richmond's largest biotechnology business that employs some 300 people in a multi-acre campus near the intersection of San Pablo Avenue and the Richmond Parkway.

The Berlex Buildings were originally constructed by a subsidiary of Chevron that produced agricultural chemicals. When that division was sold off, Berlex bought the property and expanded it.

This is a huge loss for Richmond, not only in jobs and taxes, but also in prestige. It should be noted that Berlex neither came to Richmond nor is leaving Richmond because of Richmond's local tax environment. In fact, it appears that Bayer will stay in Berkeley, which has higher taxes than Richmond.

Copied below are stories from both the West County Times and the East Bay Business Times.

Posted on Fri, Nov. 10, 2006

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Bayer closing Richmond site

Bayer HealthCare said Thursday it plans to close its research and biological development operations in Richmond, company officials said. The company also will close its research operation in West Haven, Conn., by early 2008 as part of a larger worldwide reorganization and consolidation, the company said Thursday.

About 600 jobs, mostly research, will be eliminated in the United States, with about 200 more job cuts in the future. Details were not available about how many of those positions are based in Richmond or West Haven. The moves are part of a plan to consolidate the company's numerous research organizations into three sites: Berlin and Weppertal in Germany, and Berkeley.

Employees were notified of the changes Thursday morning.

Bayer to close Richmond facility, cut 300 jobs

East Bay Business Times - November 9, 2006

Bayer HealthCare announced Thursday that it will shutter its Berlex Biosciences facility in Richmond, which Bayer acquired earlier this year as part of its $21.5 billion purchase of Schering AG of Germany.

At the same time Bayer has selected Berkeley as one of three worldwide sites where it will consolidate its R&D operations. The two others will be in Berlin and Wuppertal in Germany.

The closure is expected to result in the loss of some 300 jobs primarily in the R&D area in The Bay Area. Bayer has facilities in Berkeley and Richmond, with an estimated combined 1,900 employees.

The moves are part of a realignment of Bayer Healthcare's global pharmaceutical R&D organization, which also includes closing a site in West Haven, Conn. The company will cut approximately 300 jobs there also.

According to company spokespersons for Bayer and Berlex, most of the affected positions in the Bay Area are likely to be at the Richmond facility, although there may be positions eliminated at Berkeley, as well.

Cathy Keck Anderson, a spokeswoman for Berlex, declined to say how many people work at the Richmond site, which has 10 buildings and occupies approximately 355,000 square feet. However, estimates are that there are about 400.

"This is a site closure so that is why it is primarily research and development," said Keck Anderson. "But clearly there are a number of professions that work to support R&D and clearly they may be impacted."

Berlex's Richmond site housed programs for research in cancer and immuno-based diseases, according to the company's Web site.