Sony to close Research Park operation

Sony to close Research Park operation


CHAMPAIGN — Sony Biotechnology will close its operations in the University of Illinois Research Park at the end of September and move its headquarters to San Jose, Calif., the company confirmed Thursday.

Twelve of the facility’s 22 employees will either be offered transfers or be given the opportunity to work as field employees, and the other 10 positions will be eliminated, said Lisa Gephardt, a Sony spokeswoman based in New York. Employees were informed of the move Wednesday, she said.

Sony Biotechnology, at 2100 S. Oak St., C, manufactures flow cytometry equipment including cell sorters and cell analyzers. It has been based in Champaign since 2010, when Sony Corp. acquired Champaign-based iCyt Mission Technology.

Instead of manufacturing that equipment in the U.S., Sony decided its biotechnology operations in the U.S. should focus on sales, service and marketing of products manufactured in Japan, Gephardt said.

Gary Durack, who founded iCyt and stayed with Sony Biotechnology until 2012, said Sony had some “fantastic employees” here. At one time, he said, the flow cytometry company employed about 90 people.

“They (Sony) have to make business decisions that align with their priorities,” he said. “I wish Sony well and all the employees well, and I hope they find alternative places to contribute within the community.”


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