Bristol-Myers lays off the last 63 staffers at ZymoGenetics, shutters Seattle operations

Bristol-Myers Squibb has sounded the bell on what remains of storied Seattle biotech ZymoGenetics.

As ZymoGenetics vacates the Lake Union Steam Plant building that it has called home since 1993, it’s laying off 63 employees, according to a WARN notice filed last week. Bought out for $885 million in 2010 when Bristol-Myers still had an interest in virology, the group had been focused on discovery and early manufacturing for the New York-headquartered big pharma’s research team.

“About 50 employees will depart around the end of year and the remaining 13 people will stay on until early May, when we’re aiming to close out the Steam Plant,” spokeswoman Lisa McCormick Lavery told Puget Sound Business Journal.

Bristol-Myers announced in 2016 that it will not renew its lease on the facility. The Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center has since signed on for 106,000 square feet of space in the historic Steam Plant, with plans to move in by fall 2019 — just after the last ZymoGenetics employees are due to head out.

Around 80 people worked in the plant back in 2016, many of whom, Bristol-Myers said, were to transition to other US locations following a move for 40 R&D personnel to San Francisco a year prior.

A spokesperson attributed the closure — which was among several other Bristol-Myers facilities to be shuttered — to “changes in R&D” that led to a “limited number of microbial assets under development.”

As part of a broader R&D revamp to concentrate its R&D efforts in Central New Jersey, the Bay Area and Cambridge, MA, Bristol-Myers has also axed 149 jobs in Wallingford, CT in June with a goal to close the site at the end of the year.

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