WED AM News: Thermo Fisher Scientific to add hundreds of jobs with $58M expansion; SHINE providing nuclear waste material to D.C. company for energy systems

— Thermo Fisher Scientific’s $58 million expansion of its Middleton operation is expected to add 350 jobs in the region, the governor’s office says. 

Gov. Tony Evers yesterday joined other state officials and company leaders to tout the expansion of PPD, Thermo Fisher Scientific’s clinical research brand, at the company’s existing manufacturing facility in the state. 

He said the Massachusetts-based company’s new laboratory space “will not only further advance our state’s biosafety testing capabilities and create hundreds of jobs, but it will also help protect consumers and improve patient health outcomes across the state.” 

The 72,500-square-foot addition will boost the company’s chemistry, manufacturing and control analytical capabilities at the site, according to the release. It includes a new biosafety lab with specialized scientific instruments. The new scientific and lab support positions will add to the company’s 2,300-person local workforce. 

To support the project, the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. has authorized up to $2.15 million in business development tax credits, which can be earned through September 2026 by creating jobs and capital investments in the state. 

“Thermo Fisher plays a key role in our state’s biohealth and biotechnology industry by providing many of the clinical services companies need to bring safe and effective treatments to patients,” WEDC Secretary and CEO Missy Hughes said in the release. “Their continued growth is a huge win for innovation in our state.” 

The company — which has more than $40 billion in annual revenue — earlier this year announced it would add biosafety testing at its Middleton campus.

Leon Wyszkowski, the company’s president of analytical services and clinical research, notes research into biopharmaceutical therapies continues to rapidly evolve. 

“We are excited to expand our overall capacity and capabilities in laboratory services to help our customers deliver therapies that meet the highest quality and safety standards for patients,” he said. 

See Evers’ release and the company’s release

— Janesville’s SHINE Technologies will provide nuclear waste material to a company called Zeno Power for use in clean energy systems under a newly announced partnership. 

Zeno Power, based in Washington, D.C., is developing commercial radioisotope power systems, which convert heat from radioactivity into a “persistent and reliable supply” of clean energy, yesterday’s release shows. Through the agreement with SHINE, Zeno Power will get a material called Strontium-90, which is a byproduct of nuclear fission. 

Because Sr-90 contributes to the heat and radioactivity of spent nuclear fuel, it’s an ideal fuel source for radioisotope power systems, according to SHINE. While previous forms of this technology were relatively heavy, Zeno has created a more lightweight and less expensive design that has potential for use on Earth and in space, the release shows. 

Zeno has more than $60 million in contracts with NASA, the U.S. Navy, and the U.S. Space Force, according to the announcement. And SHINE says it will be providing Sr-90 fuel to Zeno “decades into the future to power missions from the seabed to the lunar surface.” 

Ross Radel, chief technology officer at SHINE, says recycling spent nuclear fuel is “an environmentally sustainable approach” to obtaining useful isotopes from domestic industry. 

“These isotopes can transition used nuclear fuel into a clean energy source for the future,” Radel said in a statement. “We’re proud to pioneer this approach that will help advance scientific missions and mitigate hurdles to the broader long-term adoption of nuclear energy.”

See the release

— Wisconsin will receive nearly $16 million under a $700 million multi-state agreement with Johnson & Johnson, related to the company’s marketing of baby powder products. 

The state Department of Justice yesterday announced the resolution, which involved Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul and 42 other attorneys general. It addresses Johnson & Johnson’s alleged deceptive marketing of talc powder products related to their safety and purity, the release shows. 

J&J has now agreed to stop manufacturing and selling its baby powder and body powder products containing talc in the United States. 

The investigation was focused on deceptive marketing practices, but the state DOJ notes “numerous lawsuits” filed by private plaintiffs alleged that talc causes health problems such as ovarian cancer and mesothelioma, a cancer of the tissues that line various organs. 

“Wisconsin DOJ is dedicated to protecting consumers against deceptive marketing, particularly when people’s safety may be impacted,” Kaul said in a statement. “This resolution obtains accountability from Johnson & Johnson and will help keep people safe.”

See the release and the agreement

— The state Department of Health Services is warning attendees of summer fairs or petting zoos to take precautions against the spread of disease, as officials track a dangerous strain of bird flu in the region. 

While Wisconsin hasn’t seen any confirmed cases of the highly pathogenic avian influenza H5N1 strain in dairy cattle, poultry or people, both DHS and DATCP are monitoring cases in animals elsewhere in the country. 

Recent bird flu infections in dairy herds have been linked to three cases of the disease in dairy workers who touched infected animals, including two in Michigan and one in Texas. The CDC says the three cases are unrelated, and likely indicate cow-to-human spread of the disease. 

“Direct or indirect contact with infected animals has been linked to human infections caused by influenza A viruses,” DHS Respiratory Disease Epidemiologist Tom Haupt said in a statement. “It’s an important reminder to take precautions when touching animals during fair season, at petting zoos, or whenever you’re around animals.” 

DHS is urging attendees to thoroughly wash their hands or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer after touching animals or leaving areas with animals, keep away from any animals that appear sick, and remove and wash clothes or shoes that were worn around animals after leaving the fair or zoo. 

See the release

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