Nuclea tax breaks to spur up to 20 Pittsfield jobs


PITTSFIELD -- Nuclea Biotechnologies Inc. has received more than $510,000, in tax incentives from the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center -- on the condition it creates 25 full-time jobs in 2014.

Patrick J. Muraca, president and CEO of the firm, said the majority of those new positions -- between 17 and 20 -- will be created in Pittsfield.

The company, which also has facilities in Cambridge and Worcester, currently employs 36 people in Pittsfield. The new positions will expand Nuclea's total workforce to close to 90 employees.

The Pittsfield-based firm, which discovers and develops biomarkers and diagnostic arrays, or tests, for treating various kinds of cancers, was one of 33 life sciences companies around the state that officially received $25 million from the MLSC's Tax Incentive Program on Wednesday.

It was the only company from Western Massachusetts selected in this round of funding.

"This is huge for our region," Muraca said. "We're very happy. We've been asking the state to step up and help us out and they've really done that."

Under the terms of the program, the jobs that Nuclea creates with this funding must be maintained for at least five years. Companies that don't meet or maintain the minimum threshold for job creation are required to pay back all or part of their tax incentives to the state Department of Revenue.

Muraca said the new positions will range from marketing to manufacturing jobs, with the majority of them in manufacturing. All of the jobs created by the funding must be full-time positions.

Nuclea's only manufacturing facility is currently in Cambridge, a 20,000-square-foot plant the company acquired when it purchased the American subsidiary of a German pharmaceutical firm last September.

Nuclea's Pittsfield operations are focused mainly on research and development, but Muraca said the company is planning to establish a second manufacturing facility in Pittsfield.

"We're working on that now," said Muraca, who declined comment on the specifics of that proposal. "We hope to find a landing spot (site) very soon."

He said the Pittsfield facility will focus on diagnostic manufacturing and will be "totally different" from the company's plant in Cambridge.

"It's being negotiated right now," Muraca said. "It's really going to help Nuclea grow."

The MLSC's tax incentive program, part of the state's 10-year, $1 billion Life Sciences Initiative, authorizes up to $25 million in tax incentives every year for companies engaged in life sciences research and development, commercialization and manufacturing.

This is the fifth year that funding has been offered through the tax incentive program, which like the Life Sciences Initiative, is overseen by the MLSC.

"Over the past five years the Life Sciences Center's Tax Incentive Program has encouraged life sciences companies large and small to create jobs and grow in Massachusetts," said Susan Windham-Bannister, the president and CEO of the MLSC.

"This program continues to provide a solid return to the commonwealth, while holding life sciences employers who receive our incentives highly accountable for meeting their job creation commitments," she said.

In other business, Enzo Biochem Inc. and its Enzo Clinical Labs subsidiary have entered into a non-exclusive agreement to market Nuclea's non-invasive HER-2/neu serum test, a key array in the monitoring on metastatic breast cancer.

Utilizing the HER-2/neu blood test while monitoring the disease's progression will enable physicians to better adapt, combine therapies and change treatment protocols.

A publicly traded global company, Enzo Biochem is a pioneer in molecular diagnostics.

To reach Tony Dobrowolski:

(413) 496-6224


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