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Thermo Fisher cutting jobs at single-use sites in Utah

Despite recent expansions at SUT facilities in Utah, Thermo Fisher is preparing to lay-off staff, blaming “macro-economic conditions.”

Dan Stanton

March 16, 2023

3 Min Read
Thermo Fisher cutting jobs at single-use sites in Utah
Image: DepositPhotos/ lunamarina

Despite recent expansions at its single-use technology (SUT) production facilities in Utah, Thermo Fisher is preparing to lay-off staff due to “macro-economic conditions.”

Bioprocess vendor Thermo Fisher has seen a string of investments across its global production network. In Utah, specifically, the firm expanded capacity at a BioProcess Container (BPC) facility in Logan in late 2020, and – just last year – opened a 55,000 square-foot single-use technology (SUT) facility in Ogden.

While the latter expansion saw Thermo Fisher hire over 300 members of staff, it has been confirmed to BioProcess Insider that a number of jobs are set to go across the Utah sites.

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Image: DepositPhotos/
lunamarina

“Thermo Fisher Scientific continuously evaluates its global operations to identify opportunities to improve efficiency and effectiveness in meeting our customers’ needs. There are times when we must adjust staffing levels to remain in line with macro-economic conditions and business needs,” a company spokesperson said.

“In alignment with this ongoing effort, we have made the decision to adjust staffing levels at our Utah bioprocessing sites to remain in line with current manufacturing volume demands.”

While macro-economic factors could include the drying up of biotech funding, inflation, global conflicts, and sustainability concerns, bioprocess equipment and consumable companies have spoken openly of what has been described as a “swift normalization of demand” on the back of two years of unprecedented pandemic-related growth.

Thermo Fisher’s latest financials alluded to “three years in a row of really very strong growth,” but CEO Marc Casper admitted “more normalization” in 2023 was to come as the COVID tailwind peters out.

He reiterated this at the Cowen Healthcare Conference earlier this month, telling delegates the firm’s cell culture media and single use technologies businesses has “been growing in the pandemic period,” both to support COVID projects and to support the more general industry (“as supply got tighter, we were able to pick up market share and we grew faster than others”). But the lowered forecast of single rather than double-digit growth “is purely to do with comparisons,” he said.

The precise number of jobs to go in Utah was not divulged, but Utah Public Radio (UPR) and The Herald Journal have reported about 90 people are affected from the Logan, Cache Valley site alone. In all, Thermo Fisher employs around 2,000 staff in the state.

“Decisions that impact colleagues and their families are never taken lightly,” the spokesperson told us. “However, these actions are designed to better help us serve our customers, strengthen our global competitive position and provide long-term growth and success of our organization.”

Meanwhile, Thermo Fisher has been swinging the axe elsewhere across its network. At facilities in San Diego, California, the firm announced in February plans to lay off 230 workers, and this month another 154. The plants were heavily involved in COVID-19 diagnostics test production, an area that saw a two third drop in sales in 2022, compared to the year prior.

About the Author(s)

Dan Stanton

Managing editor

Journalist covering the international biopharmaceutical manufacturing and processing industries.


Founder and editor of Bioprocess Insider, a daily news offshoot of publication Bioprocess International, with expertise in the pharmaceutical and healthcare sectors, in particular, the following niches: CROs, CDMOs, M&A, IPOs, biotech, bioprocessing methods and equipment, drug delivery, regulatory affairs and business development.


From London, UK originally but currently based in Montpellier, France through a round-a-bout adventure that has seen me live and work in Leeds (UK), London, New Zealand, and China.