Eisai's cuts focused in U.S., with 600 jobs to go

Last week, Eisai announced five years' worth of job cuts totaling 900 positions. The company now has more details about its plans--and it's not good news for the Japanese drugmaker's U.S. operations. Eisai intends to slice 20 percent of its work force in the U.S., or 600 jobs, by April 1.

It's a decidedly more immediate cut than the drugmaker hinted at when announcing its five-year plan. Citing the loss of patent protection on its lead drug, the Alzheimer's treatment Aricept, the company predicted flat sales over the next several years. To handle that lack of growth, Eisai said it would pare back its payroll by 900 positions by 2015. Cuts would be spread over Japanese, U.S. and European operations, it said.

Well, the pain won't be shared quite equally across those regions. Nor will it be spread out in dribs and drabs over years (or even months). The U.S. job-cut plans are part of the 900-person cutback, a spokeswoman told Bloomberg. Two hundred European positions will go, as will 100 sales jobs in Japan.

"This restructuring is essential to our remaining competitive in this rapidly changing environment," Lonnel Coats, president and CEO of Eisai's U.S. unit, said in a statement. "It will enable us to continually make the necessary investments in our science, our people and ultimately our human health care mission."

One bit of good news for the U.S. is that no primary offices or facilities will be closed, the company said. Eisai's U.S. operations include R&D, manufacturing, sales and marketing and administrative functions, according to a company statement.

- check out the Eisai release
- read the Reuters news
- get more from Bloomberg