Sanofi plans hundreds more U.S. job cuts in sales, R&D

In yet another pharma-layoffs development, hundreds of U.S. Sanofi employees will lose their jobs over the next several months as the company absorbs Genzyme ($GENZ) and prepares for loss of exclusivity on key drugs. As Pharmalot reports, Sanofi ($SNY) told employees that it plans to further shrink its sales force and to consolidate R&D operations in the Northeast, eliminating jobs in the process.

The sales force cuts would be focused on Sanofi's cardiovascular group--which makes sense, considering that the company loses patent protection on the Plavix blood thinner in a few months--and in oncology sales. Meanwhile, R&D operations in New Jersey and Massachusetts will be streamlined. The French drugmaker has been consolidating R&D work with Genzyme's base camp in the Boston area. Later-stage development will maintain a beachhead in New Jersey, Pharmalot says.

There's no word on just how many jobs are set to go. A spokesperson told Pharmalot that those details have yet to be worked out. The cuts come on top of more than 9,000 over the last several years, including some 3,800 sales-force reductions in the U.S. CEO Christopher Viehbacher said in September that he was aiming for $2.9 billion in cost savings per year.

Like other drugmakers, Sanofi has been cutting back in mature markets such as the U.S. and Europe, while adding to staffs in emerging markets, which it has targeted for growth. According to Viehbacher's presentation to investors in September, the company has added more than 3,700 jobs in those faster-growing countries since 2008.

- read the Pharmalot piece