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Cancer-drug developer to expand at college

From left, Charles Fuschillo Jr., W. Hubert Keen

From left, Charles Fuschillo Jr., W. Hubert Keen and Robert J. Duffy toured OSI Pharmaceuticals’ laboratory at Farmingdale State College Monday with Mark Miglarese, the company’s vice president of oncology translational research. (April 23, 2012) Credit: Barry Sloan

State officials and business executives gathered Monday at Farmingdale State College to mark the expansion of cancer-drug developer OSI Pharmaceuticals, almost three years after its former owner announced plans to leave Long Island for Westchester County.

In a ceremony headlined by Lt. Gov. Robert J. Duffy, officials detailed OSI's planned move into a second building at the college's Broad Hollow Bioscience Park. The company employs about 113 people and expects to hire 24 more, records show.

The $20-million expansion of OSI's small-molecule oncology research center has been backed by $1.8 million in state tax credits from Empire State Development Corp. and $750,000 in sales tax breaks from the Suffolk County Industrial Development Agency.

The aid is in return for commitments by the company's new owner, Astellas Pharma of Japan, to remain on Long Island. A previous owner began moving OSI's headquarters to Westchester, resulting in the loss of 150 jobs in Melville. That office was eventually combined with Astella's Deerfield, Ill., operation.

OSI, which developed the lung-cancer drug Tarceva, got its start at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory more than 25 years ago. The drugmaker has served as anchor tenant of the 12-year-old bioscience park and now will occupy both buildings.

A third structure for other businesses was authorized by a 2011 law, sponsored by state Sen. Charles Fuschillo Jr. (R-Merrick) and Assemb. Robert Sweeney (D-Lindenhurst). The pair also wrote the legislation that created the park.

W. Hubert Keen, president of Farmingdale State, said OSI's presence on campus has been a boon for students and faculty, providing research opportunities and scholarships. The college's bioscience program has grown from 30 students to 300 in the past eight years, he said.

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