Bloomberg News

Sanofi Plans Job Cuts in Overhaul of Research, Development

November 07, 2011

(Updates with company comment starting in third paragraph.)

Nov. 2 (Bloomberg) -- Sanofi may cut jobs in the U.S. and Europe in a reorganization of research and development operations following the purchase of U.S. biotechnology company Genzyme Corp.

Sanofi wants to group R&D into four “research hubs” in France, Germany, Asia and the Boston area in the U.S. that will help integrate research and early development operations, facilitate communication among teams and create “innovative and collaborative environments,” said Jean-Marc Podvin, a spokesman for the Paris-based drugmaker, in a telephone interview today.

The company plans to speak with labor unions in Germany, Italy, the U.K., the Netherlands and Hungary, Podvin said. Sanofi will “communicate plans for the European hubs following the consultation with our social partners,” Podvin said.

The company also is reorganizing operations in the U.S., and plans to create a research hub in the greater Boston area and a North American development center at Bridgewater, New Jersey, Podvin said. In the U.S., the company is considering “how many jobs to move to other facilities” and “how many to eliminate,” he said. It’s too early to speculate on the number of job cuts, Podvin said.

France’s biggest drugmaker remains “committed” to retaining its presence in all these countries, he said.

Pharmaceutical companies such as Sanofi are being forced to reorganize after failing to produce enough new medicines to make up for the loss of patent protection on best-selling medicines. GlaxoSmithKline Plc, the U.K.’s largest drugmaker, three years ago reorganized its own research operations into small teams competing with each other for financing.

Sanofi Chief Executive Officer Chris Viehbacher, a former Glaxo executive, began downsizing the company’s R&D operations, and dropping Sanofi’s least promising research projects, after taking the helm of the company in December 2008.

--Editors: Kristen Hallam, Bruce Rule

To contact the reporter on this story: Albertina Torsoli in Paris at atorsoli@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Phil Serafino at pserafino@bloomberg.net


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