The 46-acre Reactory at the former Worcester State Hospital property/Image courtesy of the Worcester Business Development Corp.

Construction of a contract biomanufacturing project at The Reactory in Worcester has been paused by a Chinese contract drug manufacturing company that’s under scrutiny from Congress amid concerns about security of genomic data.

WuXi Biologics originally inked a deal with the Worcester Business Development Corp. in 2020 to build a 107,000-square-foot facility at The Reactory, a redevelopment of the former Worcester State Hospital site next to UMass Medical School. Worcester officials gave the company a $11.5 million tax break over 20 years, representing a 40 percent reduction in the asset’s tax burden.

The company in 2021 expanded its plans to 189,500 square feet and 250 employees in Worcester, where it planned to begin large-scale production of pharmaceutical products for third-party clients. The expanded facility was scheduled for completion in 2025.

WuXi Biologics said the facility was intended to provide domestic drug manufacturing for biopharma industry clients in Greater Boston, a sector whose dramatic expansion was suddenly curtailed by rapidly rising interest rates over the last two years.

The Senate Homeland Security Committee has been investigating the potential for misuse of patients’ personal medical information after WuXi acquired NextCODE, an American company that compiles genomic data, the New York Times reported in April.

WuXi Biologics and the Worcester Business Development Corp. did not respond to requests for comment. A city spokesperson told The Worcester Telegram & Gazette that the project was halted by WuXi to reevaluate the facility’s interior design, but the company intends to complete the $300 million project.

The 46-acre Reactory site was prepared to accommodate up to 530,000 square feet of life science development by the WBDC.

Worcester Biomanufacturing Project Put on Hold

by Steve Adams time to read: 1 min