Pharma hit by additional layoffs

Roche, AMAG, Merck Serono announces layoffs, restructuring

Kelsey Kaustinen
NUTLEY, N.J.—The industry washit with news of another series of layoffs, the biggest of them announced byRoche. The company announced that it will be closing its Nutley, N.J.-basedfacility by the end of 2013 and shutting it down by 2015, a move that willresult in the loss of approximately 1,000 jobs among Roche's workforce.According to a Roche press release, the move is "part of an effort to refocusits Pharma global research portfolio and support efficient allocation ofresources for the company's expanding product development pipeline."
 
"The decision to close Nutleyhas been a difficult choice for Roche and is based on multiple factors," TomLyon, Nutley site head, said in a press release. "We currently host threeresearch areas; however, the company has decided to close the InflammationDiscovery and Translational Area (DTA) unit within the Roche R&D organization andconsolidate the Oncology and Virology DTAs to other sites where there will besynergies and economies of scale."
 
 
Lyon alsonoted that Roche's employees will be notified of the process over the next 18months and provided with "a range ofsupport options and services to assist them during the transition." 
 
The company's discoveryresearch activities will be consolidated in Basel and Schlieren, Switzerland,and Penzberg, Germany. The company will still employ roughly 20,800 people inthe United States, and while it will no longer be conducting laboratoryresearch on the East Coast, Roche plans to find a location in the region for aTranslational Clinical Research Center. The center will support the company'sU.S.-based clinical trials and early development programs, support and maintaininteractions with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and enhancecollaborations with partners in the United States. Current plans are for thecenter to begin operations in January 2013.
 
 
AMAG Pharmaceuticals made asimilar announcement, revealing plans to divest its manufacturing facility inCambridge, Mass. and reduce its workforce by roughly 45 positions by the end of2012. Along with the divestment of the Cambridge facility, which the companyowns outright and plans to sell, AMAG will also halt production of GastroMark.The company expects charges of approximately $1 million related to the layoffs andrestructuring, and one-time costs associated with its GastroMark agreements of$1.6 million.
 
In addition, Merck Serono,based in Darmstadt, Germany, announced that it will be restructuring itsSwitzerland operations, a decision that includes the closure of both its Genevaand Coinsins sites. The bulk of the planned transfers and reductions areexpected to be complete in the second half of this year, with the Geneva siteto be closed in mid 2013 and the Coinsins site in 2014. Of the current 1,250Geneva positions, approximately 750 will be transferred to other sites, withroughly 500 eliminated.
 
 
In a bit of positive news,however, Quintiles, Inc. has announced a commitment to make at least 100employment offers to Merck Serono employees within the next three months.Quintiles will begin holding job interviews at Merck Serono's Geneva facilitiesstarting next months, with positions primarily in clinical operations,biostatistics, clinical research and drug safety.

Kelsey Kaustinen

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