Pfizer's layoff campaign ramps back up with dozens of SF-area cuts expected next month

The start of the new year doesn’t seem to have dulled the zeal of Pfizer’s global cost-cutting campaign, which has already left hundreds of jobs in its wake.

Come mid-February, Pfizer will lay off some 52 employees at a facility in South San Francisco, according to a recent Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN) alert.

That address matches the former headquarters of Global Blood Therapeutics, which Pfizer scooped up for $5.4 billion back in 2022. Along with the deal, Pfizer gained GBT's marketed sickle cell disease drug Oxbryta.

“As previously communicated, Pfizer has launched an enterprise-wide cost realignment program," a Pfizer spokesperson said via email. The program will “result in some job loss across a number of our locations, including South San Francisco," the spokesperson said.

“Pfizer does not take these changes lightly,” she added.

GBT’s Oxbryta won FDA approval in sickle cell disease back in 2019. When Pfizer closed its GBT buyout in October 2022, the drug bolstered Pfizer’s decadeslong position in rare hematology.

The cuts at GBT's former HQ are hardly the first casualties in Pfizer’s monthslong quest to reduce operating expenses.

In late November, Pfizer telegraphed an undisclosed number of layoffs at its site in Groton, Connecticut, in a bid to “operate more efficiently and effectively,” a company spokesperson confirmed.

Before that, Pfizer disclosed plans to close its facility in Peapack, New Jersey, though it said the “vast majority” of workers affected by the decision would be able to transfer to Pfizer’s New York home base.

Pfizer has also cut nearly 200 positions at its Kalamazoo, Michigan, manufacturing plant. Staffers in Illinois, Colorado and North Carolina also faced layoffs at different points in 2023.

Overseas, Pfizer has also trimmed hundreds of roles in Ireland and the U.K. In November, the company started by axing 100 positions in Newbridge in Kildare, Ireland, where staffers worked on production of Pfizer’s COVID-19 antiviral Paxlovid. Several days later, Pfizer said it would liquidate another 500 roles at its site in Sandwich in Kent in the U.K..

The cost-cutting campaign is a result of plunging demand for the company’s COVID-19 vaccine Comirnaty and antiviral Paxlovid.