The story behind Biogen’s 1,000 job cuts and R&D refocus

Cambridge-based biotech Biogen has unveiled plans to cut 1,000 jobs, or 11% of its workforce, as it prepares for the launch of its newly approved Alzheimer’s disease drug, Leqembi (lecanemab) that it developed with Eisai.  This move follows a pattern of significant layoffs, with the company having cut 885 jobs last year after the troubled rollout of its Alzheimer’s drug Aduhelm.

The scope and rationale for the Biogen job cuts

Last year, Biogen eliminated 885 positions following the rocky launch of its initial Alzheimer’s drug Aduhelm in 2021. The latest job cuts are part of Biogen’s new “Fit for Growth” strategic plan aimed at prioritizing resources towards high-value programs with growth potential. The plan intends to deliver $1 billion in gross operating expense savings by 2025. After reinvesting $300 million into product launches and R&D, this would result in $700 million in net savings based on the company’s projections.

“As we looked at the R&…

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Pharmaceutical industry layoffs continue: Bristol Myers Squibb, Novavax and Takeda the latest to announces cuts

[jozefmicic/Adobe Stock]

The pharma industry has shed a significant number of jobs in 2023. The most recent company to announce cuts is Bristol Myers Squibb, which laid off 48 workers in Princeton, New Jersey. Other companies making cuts include Takeda, cutting more than 180 jobs, and Novavax, letting go of one-quarter of its workforce.

Other companies that have announced workforce reductions in the first quarter of the year include Grifols, which is cutting 2,300 workers. Neoleukin Therapeutics in Seattle went so far to cut  70% of their workforce. Other companies such as Amgen and Thermo Fisher also experienced layoffs in the first few months of the year, with 750 and 230 job cuts respectively.

Notably, some companies made even more drastic cuts, with Cyteir Therapeutics, Jounce Therapeutics, Instil Bio, Frequency Therapeutics and TCR² Therapeutics all reducing their workforces by more than half. Ari…

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