485 Eli Lilly Employees Will be Out of Work Beginning March 31

Published: Jan 23, 2017

485 Eli Lilly Employees Will be Out of Work Beginning March 31 January 19, 2017
By Alex Keown, BioSpace.com Breaking News Staff

INDIANAPOLIS – Eli Lilly has finally set a date for the layoff of about 486 sales representatives working with the company’s U.S. Bio-Medicines business. The company will hand out pink slips beginning March 31, according to a WARN notice filed with the state, Inside Indiana Business reported Wednesday afternoon.

In December, Indianapolis-based Eli Lilly announced it would cut jobs following the failure of its Alzheimer’s treatment, solanezumab. In November, Eli Lilly announced solanezumab didn’t show a statistical slowing in cognitive decline compared to the placebo arm in Alzheimer’s patients in a Phase III trial. Employees in the division would have handled sales for the solanezumab had it been successful. But, as BioSpace previously reported, it was not only the failure of solanezumab that played into Eli Lilly’s job cuts decision. In a statement at the time, Eli Lilly said the sales force reduction was also affected by the “expectation of upcoming patent expirations.” Those drugs include Cialis, for erectile dysfunction, the blood thinner Effient and Strattera, a drug for attention deficit disorder.

Inside Indiana Business said an unknown number of the employees slated for termination have already secured other positions within Eli Lilly. Other employees have the option to secure positions within Eli Lilly by March 31.

The terminations come shortly after David Ricks took over as the new president and chief executive officer of Eli Lilly. Ricks assumed the role of CEO on Jan. 1. He replaced John C. Lechleiter, who announced his retirement last year. Ricks formerly lead the company’s Bio-Medicines division.

Earlier this month Ricks started the new year with some organizational changes that included leadership changes and a reorganization of divisions. As of Feb. 1, the company’s Diabetes, Oncology and Bio-Medicines human pharmaceutical therapeutic business areas will assume commercial responsibility for their products in China—in addition to the U.S., Japanese and Canadian markets in which they already operate. Other changes include an announcement that Lilly Diabetes will host the company's human pharmaceutical commercial operations in the United States, China, Japan and Canada.

Lilly's emerging markets business will combine with Europe to form Lilly International, which will have commercial responsibility for the company's human pharmaceutical products in these markets. Alfonso (Chito) Zulueta, who has led the Emerging Markets business for the last three years, will be senior vice president of Lilly and president of Lilly International, the company said. Ricks said the changes are expected to increase company productivity and simplify Eli Lilly’s global commercial organization.

Despite the November failure of solanezumab, at the J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference earlier this month, Ricks said the company remains committed to developing a treatment for Alzheimer’s disease. He said the company has six Alzheimer’s drugs in the clinic. He said they have several assets that will continue to target amyloid plaque, which is what Solanezumab targeted.

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