After ceasing Animas insulin pump sales in U.S., Canada, J&J to lay off 297

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While J&J halted the manufacture and sales of Animas insulin pumps in the U.S. and Canada, it is still considering options for its other diabetes device businesses.

Earlier this month, Johnson & Johnson announced it would stop manufacturing and selling its Animas insulin pumps in the U.S. and Canada, effective immediately. Now, a WARN notice shows, the company will lay off 297 employees in Pennsylvania.

The layoffs, effective Dec. 15, will affect employees at Johnson & Johnson sites in West Chester and Wayne, according to the Pennsylvania WARN notice. Animas employs about 410 people globally, about half of whom work at its Chesterbrook site in Wayne and a manufacturing facility in West Chester, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer. The Chesterbrook site also houses J&J’s LifeScan unit and its Diabetes Institute.

"Animas has discontinued the sale of all Animas Vibe and OneTouch Ping insulin pumps in the U.S. and Canada, effective immediately. A decision and timing to exit countries outside of the U.S. and Canada is subject to completing consultation with relevant works councils. For the patients, caregivers and healthcare providers outside of the U.S. and Canada who currently use Animas pumps and products, Animas will continue to sell pumps and operate as usual," said Bridget Kimmel, a J&J spokeswoman, in an email.

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The company partnered with Medtronic to offer Animas pump users the opportunity to transfer to a new device. Soon after J&J’s announcement, Insulet offered a free trial of its tubeless, “pod-based” insulin pump to Animas users. And this week, Insulet teamed up with Dexcom to provide its Omnipod system along with a $200 gift card toward Dexcom’s G5 Mobile continuous glucose monitor.

RELATED: J&J alerts patients to insulin pump cybersecurity flaws, but says risk is low

J&J acquired Animas in 2005 for $518 million. The insulin pump business along with LifeScan, which makes blood glucose monitors, and Calibra Medical, which developed a mealtime insulin patch, made up the conglomerate’s diabetes device businesses.

In January, J&J said it was mulling “strategic options” for all three diabetes device units, including joint ventures, operating partnerships or divestitures. While the fate of LifeScan and Calibra are still up in the air, the conglomerate made assurances it will remain “very committed” in the diabetes arena. Its Janssen subsidiary markets Invokana and the combo drug Invokamet, while its Ethicon unit makes surgical tools, including ones used in bariatric surgery.

Editor's note: This story was updated to include a comment from Johnson & Johnson, as well as to clarify that the company did not shutter all operations in the U.S. and Canada as previously stated, but that it will continue to perform some operational functions, such as customer service and providing pump supplies to Animas users as they transition to a new device.