Servier Slashes 610 Jobs in Company Reorganization
November 30, 2015
By Alex Keown, BioSpace.com Breaking News Staff
SURESNES, France– Privately-held Servier, a French pharmaceutical company, will slash 610 employees as it faces increased competition and a tougher regulatory environment, Reuters reported Friday.
Reuters said the firm, which employs approximately 21,000 worldwide, said it has faced financial losses due to the end of patents, competition from generic drugs, regulated price controls, increased cost of research and development, as well as delays in obtaining clearance to market new drugs. To face these challenges, the company said it will undergo a reorganization, which is expected to be implemented in the second half of 2016. The majority of jobs impacted by the restructuring will be in its commercial operations within France, PM Live reported.
“This project is difficult but necessary to safeguard the competitiveness of our group in an increasingly difficult market environment,” Olivier Laureau, Servier’s president said in the statement, Reuters reported.
The announcement comes on the heels of several disappointments for Servier, including an anti-trust fine imposed by the European Union pay-for-delay deals and a safety scandal in France concerning its diabetes drug Mediator (benfluorex), PM Live said.
Additionally, the company opted to walk away from a four-year-old $450 million cancer therapy deal with U.S.-based MacroGenics, Inc. In late October, Servier said it would not exercise its option to license regional rights for enoblituzumab (MGA271), a clinical-stage monoclonal antibody targeting B7-H3, a member of the B7 family of immune regulators. In November 2011, MacroGenics entered into an agreement with Servier regarding enoblituzumab. Under the terms of that agreement, MacroGenics retained full development and commercialization rights to enoblituzumab in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Japan, Korea and India. Servier obtained an option to develop and commercialize enoblituzumab in Europe and other countries. Servier was required to exercise this option within 90 days after receipt of a data package delivered in July 2015 containing initial monotherapy data. Because Servier has not exercised this option, the agreement is now expired and MacroGenics controls worldwide development and commercialization rights to enoblituzumab.
In 2014, Servier also abandoned development of its HDAC inhibitor abexinostat for the treatment of B cell Lymphoma.
Part of the reorganization will allow Servier to focus on the development of some oncology treatments, particularly after the company’s recent acquisition of cell therapy developed by French biotech firm Cellectis to fight blood cancers. Earlier this month, Servier exercised an option to acquire the exclusive worldwide rights to UCART19, which is about to enter initial Phase I clinical tests. Servier and Pfizer will be working in partnership to develop the blood cancer drug. The Cellectis treatment uses CAR T cell technology to stimulate the body’s immune system to respond to the cancer cells.