Biogen lays off staffers at newly acquired Reata, with 113 set to lose positions

That didn't take long.

Just two weeks after Biogen completed its buyout of Reata Pharmaceuticals, the combined company is trimming its staff.

In a recent Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) notice sent to state officials in Texas, Reata said it's cutting 113 positions. The layoffs will take effect late next month.

Reata employed 321 people at the start of the year, an annual Securities and Exchange Commission filing (PDF) shows, so the layoffs are set to affect about a third of the acquired company's staff.

Biogen inked its Reata buyout in July, picking up the potential blockbuster Skyclarys, which is approved by the FDA to treat the rare, inherited neurological disorder Friedreich ataxia. The companies completed the deal in September.

At the time of the deal announcement, Biogen CEO Chris Viehbacher said his company would be able to leverage its commercial teams for spinal muscular atrophy drug Spinraza—and the newly approved amyotrophic lateral sclerosis therapy Qalsody—to help market Reata's Skyclarys.

The cuts will affect roles "where there are existing synergies at Biogen, such as general and administrative services," plus some development workers, a Biogen spokesperson said in an email.

"That being said, we are retaining those colleagues who have been essential to the launch of Skyclarys to ensure there are no disruptions for patients," the spokesperson added.

Even as Biogen shelled out billions for Reata, the drugmaker is laying off its own staff. Over the summer, Biogen said it would cut around 1,000 more jobs by 2025 in a bid to save hundreds of millions of dollars annually.

Meanwhile, Biogen isn't alone in inking a biopharma buyout and then turning around to lay off staff at the acquired company.

Look no further than CSL Vifor, which last month unveiled plans to shed 85 staffers in California by the end of October. Australia’s CSL closed its $11.7 billion buyout of Vifor last August, and, afterward, the combined company launched a strategic review that prompted changes to CSL Vifor’s U.S. commercial group, a spokesperson said.

Gilead Sciences and Merck & Co. each made similar moves in 2022.

Last March, Gilead announced plans to lay off more than 100 staffers at Immunomedics’ former headquarters following a $21 billion acquisition several years back.

Merck, for its part, laid off a clutch of Acceleron staffers in Cambridge, Massachusetts, just months after striking an $11.5 billion deal for the Boston-based developer of sotatercept, a potential first-in-class therapy for pulmonary arterial hypertension.