Nearly two decades since its inception, Cody Laboratories will cease producing generic prescription pain medications.
On Tuesday, the Philadelphia-based Lannett Co. informed the roughly 80 employees at its Cody Labs subsidiary it has decided to cease operations and close its facility at 601 West Yellowstone.
“Over the past eight months, Lannett and Cody leadership have worked to find a potential buyer for the Cody business,” said LCI spokesperson Robert Jaffe in a media release. “Ultimately, however, potential buyers have only shown interest in purchasing Cody’s fixed assets, due in part to the opioid crisis.”
Cody employees will exit the organization in three phases – the end of June, early August and late September.
“All employees are being offered a generous severance package and outplacement services to assist them through this transition,” Jaffe said.
Cody Labs describes its employees as a diverse group of well-trained and hardworking professionals.
“Our employees fill many roles: Innovative scientists and engineers, expert operations personnel, knowledgeable regulatory compliance professionals, business development experts and diligent administrative staff,” reads codylabs.com.
Forward Cody CEO James Klessens expressed concern about the people losing jobs.
“Our primary thoughts are with the 80-some people who will be displaced,” he said. “We’ve begun efforts to identify ways to help them.”
Ric Asherman founded Cody Labs in 2000, and in 2007 LCI, a 75-year-old company that manufactures, markets and distributes more than 89 generic drugs in the U.S., bought the company.
A storage warehouse built by Forward Cody in the North Industrial Park on Road 2AB was finished in 2015, allowing Cody Labs to expand operations. In 2017 Cody Labs started construction on a five-building production campus adjacent to the warehouse. It was expected to reach completion and become operational by early 2019.
Lannett expected to add about 35 new positions to its Cody Labs staff of 126.
The campus expansion promised to give Cody and the Big Horn Basin a huge economic boost. The new positions were to require a range of skill levels and education and would carry a projected average annual salary of $55,000, a little more than $26 per hour. Entry-level jobs would pay about $14 per hour.
To encourage the development, Park County legislators took a funding request to the Wyoming Legislature in 2014. Initially called the Cody Labs Bill, the resulting Wyoming Economic Development Large Project loan program act created an attractive funding venue for anyone seeking large project funding. State officials approved a total of $23 million in low interest loans for the Cody Labs project.
Lannett had not completed the loan process when, after about a year of activity, the company shut down construction indefinitely.
Last July, it announced plans to cut 50 jobs – a reduction of nearly 40 percent – as it restructured under new CEO Timothy Crew. At the time, Lannett said the move would save $10 million annually.
Last September LCI approved a plan to sell Cody Labs.
As for Forward Cody’s warehouse on County Road 2AB, Klessens said Lannett-Cody Labs has a fixed lease that requires continued payments, including taxes and insurance.
“Those will continue as we explore next options,” he said.