Roche's Genentech cuts dozens of sales jobs in move to local healthcare 'ecosystems’ 

Roche Genentech
Genentech is cutting nearly 500 jobs based out of the company's office in South San Francisco, according to a filing. Most are in clinical operations. (Roche)

In a move away from a "national strategy" in favor of localized operations, Genentech is planning to part ways with hundreds of staffers over the next few months.

The U.S. unit of Swiss drug giant Roche, Genentech is cutting 474 jobs, according to a notice filed with the state of California. While many of the cuts are in clinical operations, the San Francisco Chronicle reports that 44 division managers and 32 territory managers will be affected by the layoffs. Many of the cuts take effect in mid-September, but some employees will depart in August and some in October, according to the report.

A spokeswoman told Fierce Pharma the company this year "launched a new customer-engagement approach that will transform the way we serve patients, physicians, providers, payors and pharmacies across the country."

"We are transitioning from a national strategy and organizational model to one focused around local healthcare ecosystems," she added. The move is unrelated to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, she said.  

Genentech’s cuts follow a round of 114 layoffs earlier this year before COVID-19 started spreading worldwide, according to a filing to the state’s employment office.  

RELATED: As biosimilars loom, Roche's Genentech plans to lay off 223 staffers in California

Before that, Genentech in 2018 laid off 223 staffers as biosimilar threats to its top cancer drugs loomed. Genentech’s trio of cancer blockbusters—Avastin, Herceptin and Rituxan—are now facing U.S. biosimilar competition, and the company is busy with launches for new medicines Ocrevus and Hemlibra.

The company is also gearing up for a potential rollout of risdiplam in spinal muscular atrophy, with an FDA decision expected soon. That drug would challenge important medicines for Biogen and Novartis.