Sanofi ($SNY), which has spent the last year trimming manufacturing and R&D operations around the globe, has taken aim at another U.K. facility.
Looking forward, it says it will close by 2015 a U.K. plant in Fawdon where it makes the blockbuster blood-thinner Plavix and other drugs for the U.K. and Europe. The 450 workers have been told what to expect. Just a few weeks ago, it announced it would close by year's-end Genzyme's Cambridge, U.K., R&D operation. Up to 60 employees could be affected by the cut. And that announcement came after reports that it was thinning ranks at R&D operations in the Boston area.
The R&D cuts were expected since the $20 billion acquisition of Genzyme last year. The company had said that it would cut positions as needed because of overlaps between the two companies. It says the closing in Fawdon relates to pressures its bottom line is under from generics.
The company saw its European sales fall off by 4% in 2011, partly because of generic versions of Plavix. In a statement quoted by the BBC, Sanofi said, "The products manufactured at the Fawdon site have been adversely impacted by other factors, including generic competition, resulting in a fall in demand and production volumes."
Plavix remains one of Sanofi's best-sellers and the announcement apparently was unexpected in Fawdon. A union official told Sky's Tyne and Wear edition that it is working with the company "to mitigate any losses and to help the surrounding area, which is obviously going to be devastated by the loss of jobs."
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