The former life sciences arm of General Electric is poised for significant growth under its new parent company as it embarks on an effort to create 1,000 new jobs worldwide. Massachusetts will be one of the beneficiaries: The expansion includes 200 new jobs in the state, as well as a new factory that will open in Shrewsbury by the end of the year.
Cytiva, as the business is called, unveiled its expansion plans on Sunday. Now owned by Danaher Corp., the company is investing $500 million to upgrade and expand its properties and equipment over the next five years.
Emmanuel Ligner, chief executive of Cytiva, said the company has sped up its investment and hiring plans to keep pace with demands from clients that are working on COVID-19-related tests and vaccines.
“We have always had expansion plans,” Ligner said. “The COVID situation is accelerating our investments.”
In Massachusetts, the company has about 90,000 square feet in Marlborough and 130,000 square feet in Westborough, spread across a few buildings. The newest plant will open on Route 9 in Shrewsbury later this year, and will total about 80,000 square feet. Cytiva makes bioreactors, filtration devices, and other equipment for the biotech industry in Westborough.
Ligner said the bioreactor manufacturing will move from Westborough to Shrewsbury; flow kits and disposable bags that go inside the bioreactors will continue to be made in Westborough. The 200 new jobs will be split between both towns over the next few years. A spokeswoman for the company said it has not applied for Massachusetts tax incentives to expand its manufacturing capacity.
Cytiva employs about 7,000 globally, including about 850 in Massachusetts. The Marlborough location is considered one of its four global hubs; Ligner is based in the United Kingdom.
The $21 billion sale of what was once known as GE Healthcare’s Life Sciences business provided crucial capital to help GE chief executive Larry Culp pay down GE’s corporate debt. The sale was completed on March 31, in the early days of the pandemic in the United States, and initially inked between Boston-based GE and Danaher, which Culp previously led, in early 2019.
At the time, Culp was continuing a process started by his predecessor, John Flannery, to divest various business lines, to slim GE down and use the proceeds to bolster its weakened financial standing. The latest expansion should provide some assurances to people who had wondered what GE’s divestiture would mean for employment in Marlborough and Westborough.