Themes: R&D, sales, supply chain
By the time New Year's Day rolled around, AstraZeneca ($AZN) execs could already count more than 20,000 layoffs in the preceding 5 years. But they weren't finished. In early February, AstraZeneca--battered by falling revenue and failed programs--said it would strip out 7,300 more jobs from its payroll, with R&D taking a hit right on the chin.
Then-CEO David Brennan announced that more than 2,000 pink slips would go out to research personnel, with 3,750 more sales jobs on the chopping block as well. Supply chain management outsourcing helped lead the way for 1,300 layoffs from the operations side of the business.
Brennan, of course, quickly lost his own job after a series of clinical failures underscored just how weak the company's late-stage pipeline had grown ahead of generic competition for top drugs. AstraZeneca's big new hire of the year was announced just weeks ago, when Pascal Soriot stepped in and swiftly put an end to the company's share buyback program. Soriot is interested in making more deals. But don't look for the head count to grow. Just days ago the company announced a multiyear deal to outsource drug discovery to a CRO in China, continuing the outsourcing trend that has been intertwined with a move to expand operations in Asia.
MedImmune, AstraZeneca's biologics arm, also isn't immune to the job-cutting fervor. Last July, MedImmune said it would ax 200 workers and relocate 100 others as it shutters a pair of facilities in California. MedImmune's infectious disease and vaccine research centers in Mountain View and Santa Clara, CA, are being closed in the restructuring.
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