Genzyme and Sanofi Slash Workforces

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Genzyme and Sanofi cut jobs.

The biopharmaceutical company Genzyme (Cambridge, MA), which recently rejected an $18.5 billion takeover offer from French drugmaker Sanofi-Aventis, intends to slash its workforce by 1,000 over the next 15 months. According to a Genzyme spokesman, these layoffs are not related to the takeover bid from Sanofi. Meanwhile, Sanofi Aventis also announced it would close its Great Valley R&D site eliminating at least 400 jobs.

The job cuts at Genzyme, which will begin a the end of this year, were unveiled in an internal memo sent by Genzyme CEO Henri Termeer to staff, reported The Boston Globe. Genzyme said in May that it wanted to reduce costs but did not specify if its plans would include job cuts. At the time it also said it might sell or spin off several of its businesses. The company recently announced plans to sell off its diagnostic testing business unit Genzyme Genetics to LabCorp for $925 million, a deal that will reduce its workforce further by 1,900 employees.

A series of manufacturing problems, including viral contamination at its Allston Landing plant earlier this year, resulted in shortages of Genzyme's blockbuster drugs, Cerezyme and Fabrazyme. In May, the company was fined $175 million by the US FDA as part of the agency's enforcement action to ensure that products manufactured at Genzyme's Allston plant are made in compliance with GMP regulations.

The downsizing at Sanofi came after the organization evaluated its operations and decided it needed to consolidate its R&D activities, reported Pennsylvania newspaper The Mercury. Although R&D operations in Great Valley, PA, will close by July 2011, the clinical trial supply employees and support staff at the site won't be affected by the cuts. A Sanofi spokesperson told the newspaper that the company is working to relocate as many employees as possible.

Previous Coverage
Genzyme Updates Cerezyme Supply; Responds to Sanofi Bid

Genzyme to Exit Fill-Finish Operations at Allston Landing Plant