Bristol Myers puts more than 860 jobs on chopping block in New Jersey as $1.5B savings campaign rolls ahead

The scope of Bristol Myers Squibb’s $1.5 billion savings drive is beginning to come into focus.

BMS is laying off around 863 employees in Lawrenceville, New Jersey, according to a Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) alert from the state. The latest round of staff reductions follows 75 cuts in Lawrenceville that took place in March, according to the state filing.

The move forms part of BMS’ campaign to shave off $1.5 billion in costs by the end of 2025, a company spokesperson confirmed over email. When the drugmaker announced the plan during its first-quarter earnings call in April, BMS said it expected around 2,200 roles to get the chop in 2024.

The initiative will include site closures and a “pipeline rationalization,” as well as a “reduction of management layers” and slashed third-party spending, BMS explained in April.

At the time of the announcement, Bristol’s chief financial officer David Elkins said about two-thirds of the savings goal would come from R&D spending. Chief medical officer Samit Hirawat, M.D., added that BMS was ending work on about a dozen clinical programs.

“Unfortunately, there were impacts to some of our employees as a result of these changes noted above,” BMS’ spokesperson said in reference to the latest cuts. “We are grateful for the contributions of our colleagues and a top priority for us is supporting employees throughout the transition process.”

BMS did not specify the types of roles that will be affected or which of the company’s two Lawrenceville sites the cuts will occur at.

On its website, BMS lists two Lawrenceville locations—one at Route 206 and another at Princeton Pike. BMS describes the Route 206 site as an early discovery site equipped with laboratories, offices and support services. Scientists at the site work to discover and develop drugs for cancer, immunology, cardiovascular and fibrotic diseases.

The Princeton Pike location, for its part, houses employees from BMS’ commercial teams, plus partners from research & development and global product development and supply.

Ultimately, BMS plans to reinvest its savings in potential growth drivers, with chief commercial officer Adam Lenkowsky in April flagging the cell therapy Breyanzi as a particularly promising product.

Meanwhile, BMS is far from the only large pharma company that retooled its business in recent months.

After Fierce Biotech revealed details on an ongoing R&D overhaul at French drugmaker Sanofi in early April, the company confirmed to Fierce Pharma later that month that it was restructuring its U.S. vaccine commercial group, too.

And Pfizer—attempting to recover from pandemic sales whiplash—has embarked on its own quest to save $4 billion in annual costs by the end of this year. In May, the company unveiled another savings drive that will take place over multiple years.

In a securities filing last month, Pfizer said it expects the new program to deliver about $1.5 billion in savings by the end of 2027, some of which will begin to be realized in 2025.

Elsewhere, Novartis, Bayer, Takeda and Biogen have also embarked on recent cost savings campaigns, all of which have involved layoffs.