Abbott Labs slashing R&D as it cuts 3,000 workers

Abbott Laboratories is joining the ranks of Big Pharma companies that are undergoing some big cutbacks. Abbott announced this morning that it will take the axe to its research and development operations as part of a broad plan to trim 3,000 workers in a restructuring inspired by its merger with Solvay. The cuts--which amount to 3 percent of the company's total work force--will be made primarily in Europe, a spokesperson notes, with layoffs also planned for sales, manufacturing and in the corporate ranks.

To the victor go the spoils, as well as the jobs. Most of the staffers losing their jobs will be ex-Solvay workers who didn't make the cut at Abbott. Solvay's pharmaceuticals unit in Marietta, GA, is being shuttered by the end of next year. Some 500 positions in the Netherlands are being eliminated along with 300 jobs in Germany.

Abbott agreed to buy Solvay a year ago for a little more than $7 billion. Spokesmen for the pharma company characterized the layoffs--the biggest cutback in Abbott's recent history--as a long planned result of its acquisition. Abbott expects to take $810 million to $970 million in charges over the next two years.

- here's the WSJ story
- read the report from Bloomberg
- see the Reuters article