Pfizer’s $3.5B Cost-Cutting Program Claims 200 Jobs at Michigan Site

Pfizer_iStock, Alexandros Michailidis

Pictured: Entrance to the Pfizer office in Brussels, Belgium/iStock, Alexandros Michailidis

Pfizer is laying off around 200 employees at its manufacturing facility in Kalamazoo, Michigan amid declining sales for its COVID-19 products, according to television station Fox 17.

A Pfizer spokesperson confirmed the headcount reduction to the Fox TV affiliate in West Michigan, adding that it is also part of the company’s cost-cutting initiative to better position it for improved revenue performance in the future.

“Considering the lower-than-expected utilization for our COVID-19 products—Comirnaty and Paxlovid— Pfizer launched an enterprise-wide cost realignment program to support future revenue expectations,” the company spokesperson said. “As a result, we are anticipating an impact to approximately 200 employees at our Kalamazoo, MI site.”

Friday’s news comes as Pfizer struggles to regain its financial footing from the sharp decline in its COVID-19 business. In its third-quarter earnings report last week, the company posted $13.2 billion in earnings, which represented a 42% drop compared to the same period the prior year. This was the first time since 2019 that Pfizer sustained a quarterly loss.

Contributing heavily to this loss was its antiviral therapy Paxlovid, sales of which plummeted 97% versus during the third quarter in 2022. In addition, revenues for its COVID-19 vaccine Comirnaty dropped 70% from the same quarter the prior year. These were more than enough to outpace the 10% growth of Pfizer’s non-COVID-19 products.

In an attempt to weather the declining sales from its coronavirus business, Pfizer last month launched a widespread cost-cutting initiative designed to generate $3.5 billion in savings through 2024. The company has since moved to close its facility in Peapack, NJ, which is expected to take effect in 2024.

At the time, a spokesperson told BioSpace that most employees “will be re-assigned to Pfizer’s New York headquarters,” while a few would be transferred to another New Jersey facility. Those who did not want to be moved to another site would be laid off.

Pfizer is also closing two other manufacturing locations—one in Durham and another in Morrisville— according to reporting last week from the Triangle Business Journal. Meanwhile, a WARN notice from Colorado in early October 2023 also revealed that Pfizer was laying off an undisclosed number of employees from its manufacturing facility in Boulder, set to take effect starting Dec. 4, 2023.

Other big biopharma companies have also laid workers off recently, including Amgen, which let go of 350 employees after the nearly $28 billion buyout of Horizon. The layoffs mostly affected those who occupy roles that overlap with existing positions at Amgen. Biogen is also laying off 113 employees from Reata Pharmaceuticals following its $7.3 billion acquisition. These are set to take effect in November 2023 and will affect Reata’s Texas site.

Tristan Manalac is an independent science writer based in Metro Manila, Philippines. He can be reached at tristan@tristanmanalac.com or tristan.manalac@biospace.com.

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