Boehringer Ingelheim to Slash Another 180 Jobs Weeks Before the Holidays

Published: Dec 05, 2016

Boehringer Ingelheim to Slash Another 180 Jobs Weeks Before the Holidays December 2, 2016
By Mark Terry, BioSpace.com Breaking News Staff

Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals announced yesterday that it was restructuring, and was cutting another 180 jobs in Connecticut.

Beginning in July, the company planned to cut its U.S. workforce by 244 people. The newest round of layoffs will cut 120 jobs in the small molecule discovery research unit at its U.S. headquarters in Ridgefield, Conn., and another 60 from other areas.

In a statement, the company said, “In order to continue to deliver on our research strategy, we must create a leaner global Discovery Research organization by consolidating small molecule discovery to two sites in Biberach, Germany and Vienna, Austria. This decision will result in the closure of the small molecule discovery functions in Ridgefield, Conn., and Milan, Italy.”

Boeheringer Ingelheim also indicates that it is launching a new cancer immunology discovery research group in Connecticut sometime in 2017, which will create about 35 new positions. At this time, the company has not indicated if current or former employees will be eligible for those jobs.

“The actions we are taking now will help us reinvent the way we serve the needs of our patients, and enable us to continue to identify new medical breakthroughs,” said Erin Crew, the company’s spokeswoman, in a statement. “The ability to modulate the body’s own immune system has opened new exciting ways to treat cancer. A new group will be formed, and led out of Ridgefield beginning in 2017 that will focus on cancer immunology discovery research.”

Crew also indicated that the company had cut its nationwide sales force by 64 people. “We are sympathetic to the impact this decision will have on Boehringer Ingelheim employees and their families. We are committed to treating all employees with dignity, respect and sensitivity. We will support affected employees in a number of ways, including severance, outplacement services, and identifying other employment opportunities within the Boehringer Ingelheim network, as appropriate.”

Another Connecticut company, FuelCell Energy, announced 96 layoffs. David Cadden, professor emeritus at Quinnipiac University’s School of Business, analyzed the companies’ statements and told the New Haven Register, “It appears the reasons for the layoffs are firm dependent rather than tied to issues with the state’s business environment. Each firm’s public statements indicate that the layoffs are designed to rationalize their operations which can translate into either a need for cost reductions or insufficient demand.”

Rudy Marconi, Ridgefield First Selectman, told the Newstimes that the town is “available to help the families in any way we can.” He also indicated that he understood that the company has financial responsibilities, and that Boehringer Ingelheim had assured him that there were not going to be any physical changes or cuts in the square footage on its 300-acre campus. “We’re always concerned when layoffs happen at a major employer in the community, especially this time of year. Beoeheringer Ingelheim has made its decision and is refocusing.”

Only a week ago, on November 22, the company indicated that its Glyxambi (empaglifozin/linagliptin) was granted marketing authorization by the European Commission for adults with type 2 diabetes in the European Union.

And a week prior, on November 16, it released data from its Phase I trial of BI 695502, a bevacizumab biosimilar for Avastin, indicating it met all the primary and secondary endpoints.

“Findings from this study are an important step to confirm that BI 695502 is biosimilar to Avastin, and we look forward to the completion of the ongoing pivotal Phase III trial in lung cancer,” said Sandeep Athalye, vice president and head, Clinical Development and Medical Affairs Biosimilars, for Boehringer Ingelheim, in a statement. “These data show our commitment to develop high-quality therapeutic options for patients with cancer and contribute to the long-term sustainability of global healthcare systems.”

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