Windsor pharmaceutical company closing mid-2013

UPDATED on Dec. 8, 2012

Published on December 5, 2012

The parent company of Sepracor Canada Ltd. has decided to cease operations at the Windsor plant.

Ashley Thompson

A pharmaceuticals plant in Windsor is slated for closure in mid-2013.

Sunovion Pharmaceuticals Inc., the Massachusetts-based parent company of Sepracor Canada Ltd., released a prepared statement to the media Dec. 5 to inform the public of the closure, which will result in 32 job cuts.

“The decision to close the Windsor, Nova Scotia plant is critical to the company's business strategy to remain competitive and better align production capacity with anticipated product demand,” the statement, forwarded by communications director Candace Steele Flippin, reads.

The company’s statement says “transition arrangements” have been made for the impacted employees.

“All employees will receive a generous transition package consisting of salary, rewards and benefits as well as outplacement services,” Steele Flippin explained in a follow up email to the Hants Journal.

She said the workforce was last reduced in 2010.

When asked where the work completed at Sepracor Canada will take place following the closure, Steele Flippin said Sunovion “has identified alternative sources for the active pharmaceutical ingredients (API) manufactured at the plant to address the anticipated product demand.”

A security officer working the front desk at Sepracor Canada’s plant on Morison Drive referred the Hants Journal to Sunovion’s corporate headquarters for comment. The 43,000 square foot research and development facility opened in 1994.

Mayor Paul Beazley said news of the closure comes shortly after the public learned the Town of Windsor would be gaining 34 jobs with the impending relocation of the Nova Scotia Tourism Agencyin September 2013.

“We had good news a few months back with the relocation of the Nova Scotia Tourism Agency to the area. It’s unfortunate now that we suffer a loss of what is essentially an equal number of jobs at the old Sepracor plant,” he said in a brief phone interview.

“You think you’re starting to make some good momentum forward, and it’s sort of two steps forward, one step back.”

Beazley said commercial taxes paid for by the Sepracor Canada plant are shared by the town and municipality, but he feels the job loss will have the greatest impact on the area.

“I think everybody’s main concern would be the job loss. The building is going to stay there and there will be some assessment on it and we will continue to get some tax dollars from it.”

He says the Town of Windsor will consult with the Hants Regional Development Authority to learn what can be done to attract a new business to the plant.

“Things like the closure of this type of business sort of reinforce the idea that we need to have a good strong regional development agency in the area,” Beazley said.

The future of the 12 regional development authorities in the province, including the Hants RDA, largely stems on 25 recommendations laid out in a report that calls for the existing RDAs to be restructured when federal funding for the agencies is pulled in May 2013.

The report, Renewing Economic Development in Nova Scotia, recommends moving forward with six “regional enterprise networks,” rather than 12 RDAs.

Claude O’Hara, executive director of the Hants RDA, says the local development authority is working with the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (AC0A) and Nova Scotia Business Inc. (NSBI) to find a new company to move into Sepracor Canada’s facility in a timely manner.

“We have been aware of this situation for some time now and we have been working closely with our counterparts at ACOA and NSBI to try and find a new investor for that facility,” O’Hara said.

“We are confident that progress is being made.”