AstraZeneca PLC Firing and Hiring at Its Mt. Vernon Facility

AstraZeneca PLC Firing and Hiring at Its Mount Vernon Facility August 4, 2016
By Alex Keown, BioSpace.com Breaking News Staff

MOUNT VERNON, Ind. – An unknown number of employees at a drug supply facility acquired by London-based AstraZeneca last year are about to receive pink slips. At the same time, the company is also planning on hiring for new roles in “key areas,” Evansville-based Tristate reported this morning.

AstraZeneca acquired the site last year following a 2014 deal with Bristol-Myers Squibb for that company’s diabetes business. The facility is currently used as a research and development center for diabetes drugs, Tristate reported. The news organization did not specify how many positions at the Mount Vernon facility would be terminated. However, AstraZeneca’s website lists 16 open positions for the facility, including lead chemist, quality control supervisor, training lead and more.

A company spokesperson told Tristate the job reductions will allow the company to better streamline the plant “to better fit its business model.”

AstraZeneca has looked at job cuts as part of a plan to trim $1.1 billion in expenses. Earlier this year Pascal Soirot, chief executive officer of London-based AstraZeneca, announced the company was undergoing a restructuring plan to net savings of about $1.1 billion by the end of 2017. The restructuring plan will involve a $1.5 billion one-off restructuring charge, with total restructuring charges expected to be $2.4 billion through the end of 2017. Most of the cuts will be outside of Britain and primarily in sales and manufacturing operations.

In July, the company announced job cuts at its MedImmune division. AstraZeneca said the cuts were necessary as it prioritized its pipeline offerings.

“Our pipeline has become arguably one of the best in the industry—MedImmune’s Phase II pipeline success rate is almost double the industry average. Biologics represent 50 percent of the overall AstraZeneca pipeline and includes 17 Phase III biologics trials currently underway and 19 Phase II trials. Given this backdrop, we’re sharpening the focus on the main therapy areas, prioritizing the pipeline, and driving greater productivity and efficiency across the organization. As a normal course of business, we have shifted some resources and have had minimal staffing reductions, while hiring for critical roles in key areas such as oncology,” AstraZeneca said in a July 15 statement.

In May, AstraZeneca handed out pink slips to an unknown number of contract sales positions from Publicis Touchpoint Solutions. Sales staff from Publicis largely handled AstraZeneca’s diabetes drugs, as well as some respiratory positions. AstraZeneca uses about 1,600 contractors from Publicis.

While AstraZeneca looks to streamline its focus, the company has been rumored to be a takeover target for Novartis AG , the largest insulin maker in the world. AstraZeneca has a market value of about $78 billion, but Novartis has a market value of about $217 billion. One appeal for Novartis would not be AstraZeneca’s diabetes pipeline, but the company’s focus on immuno-oncology.

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