Biotech layoffs in 2024: Identifying common threads among affected companies

[Image courtesy of ipopba/Adobe Stock]

Companies across the industry have contributed to biotech layoffs in early 2024, driven by factors ranging from operational restructuring to strategic pivots and clinical trial failures, with major hubs like California and Massachusetts bearing the brunt of the impact. A recent analysis assembled with the help a machine learning technique known as clustering reveals a pattern of job cuts across various groups, from diversified biotechs to strategic pivots. 

1. Diversified biotechs seek operational efficiency

Companies within this cluster, including giants such as Illumina and Thermo Fisher Scientific but also smaller players like NanoString Technologies, encountered layoffs primarily as a result of operational reorganizations. Illumina’s significant layoffs were a part of a $100M cost-cutting initiative following the failed acquisition of cancer test maker Grail. Nano…

Read more
  • 0

Exploring the forces behind 2024 biotech layoffs: A visual journey

[Andrii Yalanskyi/Adobe Stock]

Biotech layoffs continue to pummel the industry in early 2024 — albeit at a slightly lower clip than in 2023. Smaller firms continue to bear the brunt of funding woes and disappointing clinical data. From January to February, operational reorganizations fueled 45 layoff announcements, followed closely by strategic pivots in 37 events. Other common drivers of job cuts include funding challenges and project restructuring.

The Sankey diagram below highlights the web of factors driving the 2024 biotech layoffs for select companies, from operational changes to clinical failures. Think of it like a map tracking why employers let go of workers, which can span multiple reasons. The width of the lines is proportional to the number of employees affected by each layoff. Note, some of the layoff counts are estimated based on percentages and the most recent available employee counts.

Read more
  • 0

Biopharma talent wars heat up as openings spike in 2023

[See Less/Adobe Stock]

The biopharma industry had a lull in job opening growth from late 2022 and into early 2023. At that time, some early stage companies struggled to secure funding, while larger firms adopted a more cautious posture, according to recent research from the global real-estate firm JLL. Madeline Holmes, a senior research analyst at the company, noted, “Job Openings was something that we looked into as a metric of potential future growth.”

While biopharma layoffs remain a common occurrence, a turnaround could be underway — at least for bigger well-heeled players. The appetite for life sciences talent has ramped up since March of this year. June 2023 marked the sixth highest number of biopharma job openings in any month on record, in line with peaks in 2022. Year-over-year, June postings rose 11%.

Holmes provided some geographical context, noting that Massachusetts saw the most b…

Read more
  • 0