Japan's Eisai cuts 25% of U.S. commercial, services units

Japan's Eisai has decided to follow the cost-cutting trend of many of its multinational counterparts and lay off a quarter of its U.S. commercial and regional corporate services units, which currently employ about 850 people. The unit said the 200-plus staff reductions would not affect manufacturing or R&D units.

Characterizing the move as a "realignment" to "redeploy our resources," unit Chairman and CEO Yuji Matsue said the layoffs were necessary because of a changing business environment. The cuts are to be made by May 1, but the company said in a news release it had no plans to close any of its "main offices or facilities" in the United States, where it employs about 1,800 altogether.

In addition to R&D, Eisai U.S. operations include manufacturing and marketing. It lists nearly three dozen executives for its U.S. operations. The 200-plus layoffs are fewer than the average among 7 companies that carried out large layoffs last year, cutting 10,691 jobs.

Several pharmaceutical giants have eliminated hundreds of jobs each in recent years, Pfizer ($PFE) notably shutting down one entire U.K. operation with 2,400 employees.

FiercePharma recently reported that last year's layoffs were only a third of the 30,000-a-year average of the previous three years. Many staff cuts follow larger mergers, but Eisai has not been among them.

- here's the Eisai release
- read FiercePharma's take
- and FierceBiotech's take

Special Report: The largest biopharma layoffs of 2014

John Carroll contributed to this report.