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Bristol-Myers celebrates opening of new Tampa campus

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Published:   |   Updated: January 30, 2014 at 07:02 PM

TAMPA — Gov. Rick Scott and city and county leaders on Thursday hailed the opening of Bristol-Myers Squibb’s new Tampa campus as a transformative event in the region’s life sciences industry.

A drug company with nearly $18 billion in annual sales, Bristol-Myers Squibb celebrated its new North America Capability Center on Thursday afternoon with a ribbon-cutting ceremony and a $50,000 donation to the Hillsborough Education Foundation. The money will benefit Middleton High School’s science laboratories, and Middleton’s other science, technology, engineering and math programs.

“They’ll create 579 jobs, 579 families that will be able to live their version of the American dream,” Gov. Scott said to a crowd of local officials and new company hires.

Bristol-Myers Squibb has taken out billboards along interstate highways in recent months as it tries to lure job candidates to its facility, at 5104 Eisenhower Boulevard near Tampa International Airport. It’s expected to hire 251 people in jobs averaging at least $65,000 by the end of this year. Eventually, it’s expected to employ 579 people in fields such as accounting, quality control, billing, customer service and other functions.

The Tampa area’s gain comes at the expense of other Bristol-Myers Squibb employees elsewhere, according to The Times of Trenton (N.J). The company is relocating about 200 jobs from one of its offices near Princeton, N.J., to Tampa, and it’s expected to move another 325 jobs to Tampa from other offices.

Hillsborough County lured the company in part with promises of tax incentives worth up to $2.1 million, and the state may kick in up to $4.8 million more.

The drug maker has been guarded in its release of information for months, in the past declining to give much detail about its local hiring efforts.

The company didn’t make any of its executives available for media interviews, and it didn’t provide much detail on its hiring efforts. A spokesman did say Bristol-Myers Squibb has hired for the majority of the initial 251 positions.

msasso@tampatrib.com

(813) 259-7865

Twitter: @msasso

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