Only Days After Inking Asset Swap Deal With Sanofi, Boehringer Ingelheim Cuts 725 Jobs in the U.S.

Only Days After Inking Asset Swap Deal With Sanofi, Boehringer Ingelheim Cuts 725 Jobs in the U.S. June 30, 2016
By Mark Terry, Breaking News Staff

Germany’s Boehringer Ingelheim announced yesterday that it is cutting 725 jobs in the United States, with 50 of those jobs being from its headquarters in Ridgefield, Connecticut. The remaining jobs, about 675, are mostly sales positions around the country.

This comes only days after it announced that the paperwork had been signed with Paris-based Sanofi over the two companies’ asset swap. Sanofi will be turning over its Merial animal drugs business in exchange for Boehringer’s over-the-counter (OTC) drugs business.

The negotiations began in December 2015 and is expected to close by the end of this year. The deal is expected to double Boehringer’s sales in the animal health sector to about 3.8 billion euros, making it the second largest animal care provider worldwide. Lyon and Toulouse, France will become key operational centers for Boehringer, with operations, research and development, and manufacturing plants in Lyon, and a production facility in Toulouse.

“This is a win for Boehringer Ingelheim and Sanofi alike,” said Andreas Barner, chairman of the board of Boehringer, in a statement on June 27. “Moreover, it is one of the most significant steps in our corporate history. It demonstrates the consistent orientation of our business towards innovation-driven sectors. As a research based pharmaceutical company, we will substantially enhance our position in the future market for Animal Health and will prospectively be one of the largest global players in this segment.”

In terms of the U.S. cuts, Erin Crew, a Boehringer spokeswoman, said in a statement, “Following a careful examination of our human pharmaceuticals business, we made the difficult decision to eliminate (the positions). Many of the people impacted will continue to have the opportunity to pursue new roles within the Company. 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 make significant investments in Research and Development to continue to identify new medical breakthroughs.”

Boehringer employs about 47,000 people worldwide and about 2,700 in Connecticut. In 2014 the company trimmed 900 jobs.

“Any time someone loses a job it’s a concern for all of us,” said Ridgefield First Selectman Rudy Marconi to Danbury’s News Times. “Mostly it’s a concern for Boehringer Ingelheim, but they are restructuring their objectives and that requires that they move people around. I know that if they are BI employees, they are the best, and they should be successful in securing employment.”

“We are sympathetic to the impact this decision may have on Boehringer Ingelheim employees and their families,” Crew said in a statement. “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.”

On June 7, Boehringer Ingelheim announced it had set up a research collaboration with the Harvard Stem Cell Institute’s Harvard Fibrosis Network to work on finding new ways to treat fibrotic diseases like idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), chronic kidney diseases (CKD) and nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH).

It is starting by sponsoring three projects to study novel pathways and molecular targets for the three diseases. The teams will have access to BI’s chemical compound collection and siRNA library at the ICCB-Longwood screening facility. And it will have the support of Shannan Ho Sui’s bioinformatics group at the Harvard Chan Bioinformatics Core at the Harvard Stem Cell Institute’s Center for Health Bioinformatics.

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