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Alexion Pharmaceuticals closing RI manufacturing plant; cutting 250 jobs

FILE PHOTO: Rare disease drug maker, Alexion Pharmaceuticals, announced Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2017, that it will be closing its Smithfield, Rhode Island manufacturing facility and cutting approximately 250 employees. (WJAR)

Rare disease drug maker, Alexion Pharmaceuticals, announced Tuesday that it will be closing its Smithfield, Rhode Island manufacturing facility and cutting approximately 250 employees.

"Alexion has had a positive working relationship with the state of Rhode Island, however the company is aligning its manufacturing facilities with its multi-product network manufacturing strategy," company officials said in a statement. "As part of this plan, Alexion is closing its Rhode Island manufacturing facility and focusing manufacturing at other sites in the U.S. and Ireland as well as manufacturing capacity through our contract partners. “

Alexion also announced that they are moving their headquarters out of New Haven, Connecticut and heading to the Boston/Cambridge area.

Alexion has said that the restructuring plan they have in place will reduce its global workforce by 20 percent and save nearly $300 million annually by 2019.

The Rhode Island Commerce Corporation and the Department of Labor and Training released a statement Tuesday morning, noting that they are "disappointed" by the news.

"Our number one priority is ensuring that every Rhode Islander currently employed at Alexion is able to transition to other work," the statement noted. "The Department of Labor and Training will be working with Alexion officials on re-employment of their employees and the Commerce Corporation will be working with them on repurposing the facility."

Alexion is the maker of the drug Soliris, which treats two rare genetic disorders.

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