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DEVENS, MA-Pharmaceutical giant Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. will build a $660-million manufacturing plant on the site of a former Army base in Fort Devens, a decommissioned facility 35 miles northwest of Boston. The New York City-based company said it expects to begin construction on the 750,000-sf multi-product bulk biologics manufacturing facility in September. The plant opening is scheduled for 2009 at the 84-acre site.

The facility, which will employ as many as 550 workers, is expected to produce a newly approved drug for rheumatoid arthritis and possibly other products, the company says. “This is a huge win for both Devens and the Commonwealth,” Meg Delorier, chief of staff for Mass Development, tells GlobeSt.com. Mass Development purchased the base from the Department of Defense for $17 million in 1996. She says Massachusetts faced some tough competition from New York, Rhode Island and North Carolina but managed to lure Bristol-Meyers Squibb through what she termed “a very competitive package.”

The state offered the company more than $60 million in spending and incentives to base the facility here. Among those incentives was $34 million to build a new waste treatment and sewage facility. The state also agreed to change its investment tax credit rules, allowing the firm to claim a 5% refund on its investment in the facility. Officials from Bristol-Meyers Squibb could not be reached for additional comment in time for GlobeSt.com’s deadline.

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