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Medical device giant to open plant in Tucson, creating high-skilled jobs
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Medical device giant to open plant in Tucson, creating high-skilled jobs

Tucson is centrally located between eight of Becton Dickinson’s U.S. manufacturing plants. The company makes medical devices ranging from syringes to lab equipment.

A major global supplier of medical devices is building a $65 million manufacturing plant on Tucson’s southeast side that will employ about 40 workers when it opens next year.

New Jersey-based Becton, Dickinson and Co. — which makes items ranging from syringes to laboratory instruments — said its planned 120,000-square-foot facility will be built at the northeast corner of East Valencia and South Kolb roads and will be a hub for the company’s supply chain, serving as a final-stage manufacturing and sterilization center.

A bobcat kitten found a snake and couldn't resist a tussle. The bobcat appeared to be one that was born in the yard several months ago. Video by Eric Schaffer.

The new plant will be built on about 32 acres and is expected to be operational in mid-2022, the company said Thursday.

Becton Dickinson, which is often referred to as BD, says it plans to hire engineers, scientists, quality control specialists and other skilled talent to staff the new facility.

Sun Corridor Inc., the Tucson region’s economic development agency, projects that the company’s investment will have a $122 million economic impact over the next 10 years.

The company said it is investing heavily in its in-house capacity for manufacturing and sterilization as part of the company’s response to COVID-19 and commitment to public health.

The facility will be part of North American operations for all of BD’s divisions, a company spokesman said. Examples of the kinds of devices that will be finished and sterilized in Tucson include syringes, procedural trays, intravenous sets, and surgical and vascular products.

BD, founded in 1897, operates more than 90 medical device and health-care technology manufacturing and sterilization facilities globally, including the headquarters of its $1 billion BD Peripheral Intervention business unit in Tempe, which employs more than 500 workers.

“Tucson is the ideal location for critical infrastructure and was selected after a careful review of a number of alternative locations in the southwestern U.S. and Mexico,” said Alexandre Conroy, executive vice president of integrated supply chain for BD. “Arizona’s favorable business climate, the strength of its workforce and Tucson’s centrality to other parts of BD’s supply chain were key factors in the decision.”

The company said its new Tucson facility will be one of the first in the world with an original design that will meet or exceed the most stringent environmental guidelines and serve as a model for other sites worldwide.

Tucson is centrally located between eight of BD’s U.S. major manufacturing plants and three distribution centers, and the site for the new plant sits within compatible existing and planned industrial areas.

Conroy said the company worked closely with the city and Mayor Regina Romero to identify the site.

Judy Rich, president and CEO of TMC HealthCare and chair of Sun Corridor’s board, Sun Corridor Inc., cited BD’s long history of commitment to public health and is deep involvement in the nation’s COVID-19 response.

“For this global powerhouse to choose Tucson for its new state-of-the-art manufacturing and sterilization facility is big news,” Rich said in prepared remarks.

Romero said Tucson’s strategic location, along with its tech companies, the University of Arizona, workforce and proximity to Mexico, were keys to attracting BD.

Sun Corridor CEO Joe Snell said the members of the business-led economic development group were tenacious in landing the new BD facility, which joins Roche Tissue Diagnostics, Accelerate Diagnostics, HTG Molecular and other medical-device companies in the Tucson area.

Besides the city, Sun Corridor said, project partners included the Arizona Commerce Authority, Pima County, Pima Community College, Tucson Electric Power, Southwest Gas, Lumen, Primus Builders, Perry Engineering, Azbil Telstar, Lesni A/S, Advanced Air Technologies, Inc., Cushman & Wakefield/PICOR and Jones Lang LaSalle.

“Arizona has earned a reputation as a hub for biotech and life sciences, thanks to our unique value proposition and the continued investments from industry leaders like BD,” said Sandra Watson, president and CEO of the Arizona Commerce Authority.

Contact senior reporter David Wichner at dwichner@tucson.com or 573-4181. On Twitter: @dwichner. On Facebook: Facebook.com/DailyStarBiz


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