Plant owner in talks with WVU to transfer shuttered facility

Aug 11, 2021, 3:39 AM | Updated: 8:09 pm

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — The owner of a shuttered pharmaceutical plant that recently idled hundreds of workers has entered into talks to potentially transfer the complex to West Virginia University for possible other business uses, Gov. Jim Justice said Wednesday.

Justice said WVU and drugmaker Viatris Inc. are in negotiations for the facility in Morgantown.

Viatris announced in December that it would lay off the workers at the end of July. Labor and advocacy groups made a last-ditch attempt to keep it open.

The plant was formerly operated by the generic drug company Mylan, which merged with Upjohn last year to form the new company. Viatris, which announced it would slash 20% of its workforce worldwide, is now one of the world’s leading makers of generic drugs.

The moves left workers scrambling to find new jobs as the major employer exited West Virginia, a state that is often trying to lure new companies to uplift a stagnant economy once dominated by the coal industry.

Justice said that if the negotiations pan out, WVU would work with the state Department of Economic Development to find potential companies to use the facility.

“WVU’s goal is to grow jobs in northcentral West Virginia. This is a great announcement,” Justice said at a news conference.

The Republican governor said he wants to see the plant’s 1,500 former workers find employment, too.

“These people were so good at their jobs,” he said. “To let them die on the vine is just the wrong thing to do.”

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Plant owner in talks with WVU to transfer shuttered facility