After years of flying high, biopharma job growth is running into turbulence, as a number of factors have increasingly pushed big pharma into layoffs. Although the picture is bleak now, the industry’s longer-term employment prospects appear brighter.
Roche will eliminate 1,000 jobs by the end of 2013 when it shuts down its Nutley, NJ, R&D site. The company has said the shutdown reflects its shift from early- to later-stage R&D. Some of those staffers will be rehired when Roche opens a 240-employee clinical research center next year.
Earlier this year, Novartis said it would cut about 2,000 jobs nationwide, including 330 at its U.S. headquarters in East Hanover, NJ, in addition to 2,000 earlier European job cuts. The company blamed the coming September patent expiration of its top-selling blood-pressure drug Diovan, and slowing sales of another, Rasilez.
Already this year, according to a spot-check of announcements, AstraZeneca plans to shed 7,300 jobs worldwide; Takeda, 2,800 jobs, mostly in Europe; Abbott, 700 lab diagnostics and hospital division jobs in the U.S. and Puerto Rico; Merck Serono, 580 Swiss jobs. Last year Pfizer announced it would eliminate 16,300 jobs; Merck, up to 13,000 jobs.
All those planned layoffs come on top of the 7,987 biopharma layoffs planned between January and June of this year—significantly above the 4,771 reported during the first six months of 2011, according to the most recent Job-Cut Announcement Report by Challenger Gray & Christmas. According to that report, companies across the industry planned to cut 2,945 jobs last month, nearly triple the 1,082 jobs slated for elimination in June 2011.