Manufacturing looks to take hit in Sanofi cuts

While Sanofi ($SNY) CEO Chris Viehbacher did not delineate exactly where the 900 jobs cuts in France would come from, there was a hint in the company's rather cryptic release that manufacturing may be in for some of them.

Anticipation has been running high for weeks that the French company would slash up to 2,500 jobs so when it said today that about 900 jobs would be eliminated through attrition and retirements, and another 640 at one site were still being decided, the fact that there were few details seemed to get lost in the relief.

The company said, however that among its three key strategic objectives is to "improve the economic performance of Sanofi Pasteur's industrial units to ensure their ability to compete in increasingly competitive vaccine markets."

A Sanofi spokeswoman told FiercePhramManufacturing in a phone call only that the number of manufacturing sites will not be reduced but that it is too early to know what job losses, if any, might occur in manufacturing. That will be decided in October, she said. 

One of those plants drew FDA attention in a warning letter in July. While the agency mostly focused on mold problems at a Sanofi Pasteur plant in Toronto, where production has been stopped to make upgrades, it also cited a vaccine plant in Marcy l'Etoile, France. The agency was so disturbed by what it found at the two plants that officials sought a meeting with the company to discuss how it intended to solve problems.

Sanofi's manufacturing operations around the world have been cut plenty in recent years as the company has adjusted itself to less revenue after some key drugs lost patent protection. It said in May that it would close a 36-year-old plant in Kansas City, Mo., but do it slowly, cutting the more than 330 jobs a little at a time until the plant is completely closed in 2016.

- here's the release (PDF)
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