On Tuesday, July 27, 2021, four Massachusetts pharmaceutical and biotech companies (Pfizer, Moderna, Alnylam Pharmaceuticals, and Berkshire Sterile Manufacturing) were invited to speak with the Massachusetts Manufacturing Caucus. The meeting focused on business challenges and initiatives the state can take to encourage growth and support biotech in the state.
Berkshire Sterile Manufacturing (BSM) is a fill finish contract manufacturing operation, founded in 2014. Since then, the company quickly grew to 180 employees and continues to expand. BSM has received several tax incentive rewards and financial support through the state to encourage its growth. During the meeting on Tuesday, BSM chief technical officer and cofounder, Dr. Andrea Wagner, expressed the advantages of supporting biotech in Massachusetts on the economy, commenting that BSM places an average of $9.1 Million into the Berkshire economy alone through its employee payroll and hiring Berkshire vendors. That number continues grow each year with the business.
Challenges in hiring candidates with industry expertise was expressed by all companies. Dr. Wagner, encouraged other biotech companies to consider a move to Western Massachusetts.
“There is a huge need for sustainable jobs out here,” she said. “Although we do have trouble finding talent similar to you, the cost of living is lower (and) the educational structure here is similar, if not better than Boston.”
She added, though, that a lack of childcare has been a major issue for employees. BSM tried to solve this issue by offering rent-free space in its facility to a nonprofit daycare in exchange for discounted childcare for employees, but the daycare has been short-staffed and partially closed since the pandemic began.
Berkshire Sterile Manufacturing recently received $185,000 in tax incentive rewards from the state of Massachusetts and Massachusetts Life Science Center (MLSC) for its promise to add 35 new long-term, high-salary positions by the end of 2021. In addition to competitive pay and traditional benefits (health insurance plans, PTO, 401K match program), BSM offers other unique employee benefits, such as an onsite gym equipped with top-of-the-line NordicTrack treadmills, bikes, ellipticals, and rowing ergs, an onsite subsidized daycare, and monthly company-wide events and parties.
Read more about the Manufacturing Caucus meeting here:
Massachusetts vaccine makers cite talent pipeline, childcare as biggest barriers to recruitment