Company: Boehringer Ingelheim
Based: Ingelheim, Germany
Announced layoffs: 1,572
Boehringer Ingelheim had one of the larger layoffs of the year, but unlike so many of its peers, it was not a patent loss, or the failure of a drug to perform, that led the German drugmaker to let more than 1,000 people go in the U.S. It was a manufacturing mess.
After having invested $350 million to upgrade its troubled Ben Venue plant in Bedford, OH, the drugmaker decided that projected operating losses of more than $700 million over the next 5 years were not worth investing in the plant any further. So at the end of 2013, it closed the sterile drug manufacturing plant and laid off the 1,100 workers there.
Manufacturing and sterility problems at Ben Venue forced the contractor to suspend operations in November 2011 and later to sign a consent decree with the FDA. The operation was the contract manufacturer for so many significant drugs that the FDA took the unusual step of allowing it to continue to make about 100 drugs while it worked to meet the stipulations of the consent decree. But in October, the company decided the goal was too financially daunting and said the plant would close by year end. It started laying off workers and put the facility up for sale
A portion of the plant may get a new tenant in the meantime. Ben Venue Laboratories and Johnson & Johnson's ($JNJ) Janssen have an agreement that would allow Janssen to lease a portion of the plant to manufacture its ovarian cancer drug Doxil. Ben Venue was the sole supplier, and Janssen has been scrambling to keep the popular medicine in the supply chain since the plant ran into problems. The deal still needs approval before it becomes a reality.
The Bedford plant was not the only Boehringer Ingelheim facility to get the heave-ho. The drugmaker also decided to close an API manufacturing facility in Petersburg, VA, and let 240 people go, and to cut 54 jobs at a plant in France. Drug-pricing pressures in France also led it to slash 178 sales jobs in that country. That brings the announced layoffs to more than 1,570. -- Eric Palmer (email |Twitter)
Boehringer Ingelheim looks for a buyer for its troubled Bedford operation
Boehringer Ingelheim gives up on troubled Ben Venue plant, laying off 1,100
With Ben Venue cuts, Boehringer Ingelheim targets up to 640 U.S. jobs