Itâ€™s been another tough few weeks for pharma employees as four more companies handed out pink slips in an effort to trim bottom lines.
Elan cut 14 percent of its global work force last Wednesday as a part of an ongoing strategic review process. The company announced that it would postpone biologics manufacturing, redesign R&D in its biopharmaceutical business, and reduce related G&A and support activities. As a result, 230 positions were hacked. Elan said half the positions cut would be in Ireland, while the other half would be in the United States. They expect the changes to reduce 2009 operating costs by $30 million to $35 million.
Seattle-based Trubion Pharmaceuticals announced last Wednesday that it will reduce its workforce by 25 percent to 25 employees. Citing capital market and global economic uncertainty, Trubion says it is proactively cutting costs and investing in its strongest near-term opportunities to ensure long term success. Trubion develops protein therapeutic products for autoimmune and inflammatory diseases and cancer.
Watertown, MA-based Panacos Pharmaceuticals announced last Monday that it will reduce its work force from 11 to just four employees, close its Gaithersburg, MD, facility, and consider selling the company or its HIV development programs in an attempt to preserve financial resources. The company also announced it will de-list its common stock from trading on NASDAQ. According to a press release, if Panacos is unable to enter into a transaction or agreement, the company may be forced to shut down come second quarter. Panacos specializes in developing small molecule oral drugs for HIV and other viruses.
Thus far in 2009, Merck has handed out 750 pink slips to US sales reps as a part of a global restructuring plan announced last October. The plan was designed to reduce Merckâ€™s work force by 12 percentâ€”about 7,200 positions worldwideâ€”by 2011, and save $3.8 billion to $4.2 billion by 2013. Although many US sales reps were notified of their dismissal earlier this year, some got word last Monday. When all is said and done, Merck expects its US sales force to be slimmed by 12 percent to 5,600.