Still seeking cost cuts, Sanofi plans to slim down in Japan through voluntary retirements

Sanofi
Sanofi plans 200 layoffs in various job functions in Japan, according to Reuters. (Sanofi)

Still under pressure in diabetes and struggling to bring enough lucrative new meds to market, Sanofi has been paring away jobs on both sides of the Atlantic. Now, it's Japan's turn.

The drugmaker plans to eliminate positions in Japan through voluntary early retirements, the company confirmed Monday. 

Jobs in sales, regulatory affairs, operations, IT and human resources are on the block, according to Reuters, which cites an unnamed person familiar with the planned cuts. 

A Sanofi representative told FiercePharma that "Sanofi Japan plans to implement a voluntary retirement program in order to adapt to the external environment changes and to transform our business models to continue our growth.” 

At the end of 2018, Sanofi employed 5,864 workers in its “rest of the world” category, which includes Japan; the drugmaker doesn’t break out its Japanese employment numbers specifically. Worldwide, the company employed 104,266 workers at the end of the year, down slightly from 106,566 at the end of 2017 and 106,859 at the end of 2016. 

RELATED: Sanofi to ax 466 jobs, step up focus on cancer, gene therapy R&D 

The reported cuts come after Sanofi in June chopped 466 jobs in its R&D organization in France and Germany as part of a pivot away from cardiovascular diseases and toward cancer drugs and gene therapy. In April, the company said it planned to lay off an undisclosed number of U.S. sales staffers.

For years, Sanofi has implemented various layoffs in the U.S. and Europe as it’s dealt with pricing pressure in its diabetes and cardiovascular units, generic competition to older meds and a thin pipeline of new blockbuster prospects. The report of the latest cuts comes as new CEO Paul Hudson settles into the job; he took up the reins at the beginning of September.

RELATED: Sanofi to exit Bangladesh, reports say, leaving 1,000-plus jobs up in the air 

Also in September, the company discussed exiting Bangladesh, creating uncertainty for more than 1,000 workers there, according to reports. A spokesperson said Sanofi will prioritize its employees' interests and drug access in the country as it reviews various scenarios for its operations.

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