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Workforce reductions announced at Dunkirk’s ImmunityBio

OBSERVER Photo by Braden Carmen ImmunityBio took over the former Athenex plant in February.

DUNKIRK — Citing “construction needs” at what was described just years ago as a state-of-the-art facility, ImmunityBio confirmed there will be fewer workers at its Dunkirk plant for up to a year and a half.

However, at least two sources, one who said he was a worker, said the company laid off all but a handful of employees without prior notice after they were gathered Thursday.

News of the employee drawdown came following an “in-depth review” of the state-funded facility at 3805 Lake Shore Drive, the lease of which was acquired by ImmunityBio in February of this year from Athenex.

A spokeswoman for the California-based clinical-stage immunotherapy company said it was determined that the plant “has construction needs that may take approximately 12 to 18 months in order to enable the facility to be used as it has been intended.”

She added, in a statement to the OBSERVER, “For this reason, we will need fewer employees during the construction period. That said, we remain committed to the Dunkirk area and the large-scale manufacturing facility.”

An employee, who wished not to be identified, said they were gathered Thursday inside the plant’s cafeteria and informed the facility needed work that could last more than a year. The employee estimated that up to 40 were laid off in a variety of departments, including plant services, micro-biology and office workers. He also stated that employees were notified Thursday they could re-apply for their jobs after the upgrades were finished.

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