To "right-size" what Mylan says is one of the world's largest pharmaceutical plants, the generic drugmaker is laying off about 500 employees in Morgantown, West Virginia. The cuts come during a tough time for the generic industry at large—Mylan included—but ahead of some potentially lucrative launches for the company.
About 3,500 people work at the manufacturing complex now, according to a Mylan spokesperson, and that number will shrink to 3,000 after the cuts. The layoffs will mostly affect employees in operations.
"As the industry has changed and regulatory expectations have continued to evolve, we’ve realized that our Morgantown plant needed to be right-sized to be less complex," Mylan's spokesperson said.
The changes those cuts will make are "consistent with discussions we are having with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and ... necessary in order to position the site as best we can for continued operations," the spokesperson added. In a note Monday, Wells Fargo analyst David Maris predicted that investors will press the company over the issue when it reports first-quarter results.
The company said it's "committed" to maintaining its U.S. manufacturing footprint and plans to "continue making the majority of the medicines we supply to the U.S in the U.S."
Meanwhile, Mylan could have some big launches ahead. The company believes its Advair generic could win a U.S. approval this year, allowing it to challenge GlaxoSmithKline's megablockbuster inhaler for market share. And Mylan president Rajiv Malik said in January the company's biosim to Amgen's white blood cell booster Neulasta could roll out in the middle of the year. It's part of Mylan's efforts to position itself against a tough pricing climate by investing in biosimilars and complex generics.
Mylan and other generic drugmakers have faced generic pricing pressure for years now, and giants in the industry are slashing their payrolls to compensate. Teva plans to set loose 14,000 of its workers in a massive cutback. Mylan itself announced 3,500 job cuts back in 2016 to "reduce redundancy" following an M&A streak.
Before that announcement, Mylan inked a deal to buy Abbott Laboratories' generic meds for $5.3 billion in 2015, transferring its tax headquarters to the Netherlands in the process. It also scooped up Meda for $7 billion and paid $1 billion for several topical skin meds from Renaissance Holdings.