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Olympus: No Buyer for Upper Valley Facility; 120 Jobs Cut

West Lebanon — Olympus Biotech will close its manufacturing plant in West Lebanon’s Airport Industrial Park at the end of August after the firm’s parent company failed to find a buyer for the business, which has been on the market since winter.

About 120 workers are being laid off as a result of the closing, which will mark the discontinuation of Olympus Corp.’s U.S. biotech division, which also includes back offices in Wilder and Hopkinton, Mass., Olympus spokesman Mark Miller said in an interview on Tuesday evening.

“We feel we have exhausted all efforts by trying to sell the Olympus Biotech company and the Lebanon facility,” Miller said. “There are no viable offers at this stage.”

The company, which announced in March that the facility would be shuttered if a buyer was not found, is providing severance benefits and access to outplacement services to its employees, as well as making them aware of open positions at other Olympus Corp. locations.

Leadership broke the news to plant employees Tuesday morning, and let workers go home following the announcement, Miller wrote in an email to a reporter prior to the interview.

“This is kind of a big event,” a woman said while walking to her car. She declined to comment further

Another worker who was leaving the building on Tuesday said employees were “told specifically not to speak to the press.”

Miller said in the email that the company made many attempts at continuing biotech operations in the Upper Valley.

“This was a difficult decision and was made only after numerous alternatives for business continuation were identified and exhausted over the past year, including partnerships, acquisitions, private equity, contract manufacturing and other options,” Miller wrote. “None of these came to fruition.”

Olympus Corp. has yet to decide what it will do with the Lebanon facility, but “there will be no active operations at the site after Aug. 29,” Miller wrote.

The company, which is widely known for manufacturing cameras and microscopes, purchased the facility, as well as everything related to the making of OP-1, a protein-based putty used to regenerate bones for treating spinal, hip and knee conditions, from Stryker Biotech for $60 million in December 2010.

However, OP-1 never met the company’s expectations, and last October, Olympus began offering the West Lebanon facility for contract manufacturing to help other firms develop biotech products.

In March, Company officials continued to defend the OP-1 product even while announcing the pending shutdown of Olympus Biotech.

“We are proud of OP-1’s legacy in the market and its significant contributions to regenerative medicine and the quality of life in patients worldwide,” David Renker, chief operating officer for Olympus Biotech, said in a news release. In addition, we are grateful to our employees for the incredible support they have shown our biotech business throughout its history and thank them for their dedication to the business and our mission.”

Jordan Cuddemi can be reached at jcuddemi@vnews.com or 603-727-3248.