Sanofi Genzyme trims 130 workers at Boston plant after unit reports strong global Q4 growth

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Sanofi Genzyme to layoff 130 at its Allston Landing manufacturing plant in Boston. (Sanofi)

Sanofi Genzyme, which specializes in rare diseases, said it will let go of 130 workers at its Allston Landing biomanufacturing facility in Boston.

News of the layoffs comes on the heels of Sanofi reporting strong fourth-quarter global growth of 16.8% for the unit "due to contributions from the new immunology franchise," the company reported Wednesday. For the full year, Genzyme’s global sales were up 15.2% at $6.97 billion.

Overall, however, Sanofi reported a 29.5% fourth-quarter decline ($897 million) and 22.8% ($3.84 billion) slide for the year that some analysts partly attribute to a hit to sales of its diabetes drugs Lantus and Toujeo on CVS Health and UnitedHealthcare formulary exclusions.

Sanofi bought Genzyme in 2011 for more than $20 billion. Sanofi has about 5,000 employees in Massachusetts located at six sites in the state.

“We are currently implementing a change at our Allston Landing plant that will result in a reduction in headcount,” Sanofi spokeswoman Ashleigh Koss told Fierce in an e-mail. “This change is associated with the outsourcing of certain aspects of the production process and various improvements to technology and operations that have been implemented. As a result, we are reducing staffing levels to more closely align with the current level of activity at the site.”

Like others in the industry, Sanofi has adapted to tougher payer tactics by reshaping itself partly through M&A and layoffs. As part of those efforts, the company noted Wednesday of the possible sale of its European generics business. That sale could happen in the second half of 2018. Reports have pegged the unit value at around $2.4 billion with two drugmakers and several private equity companies the likely bidders.

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