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Eisai cuts US workforce by 20 percent

Eisai, the US pharmaceutical operation of Japan's Eisai, plans to cut its workforce by about 20 per cent across all US functions

Eisai, the US pharmaceutical operation of Japan's Eisai, plans to cut its workforce by about 20 per cent across all US functions, laying off approximately 600 workers by the start of next month.

"This organisational restructuring supports Eisai's global mid-term strategic plan for FY2011-2015, which seeks to transform Eisai's business into a more efficient and focused organisation to better serve its human healthcare mission," says the company.

Eisai intends to invest the cost-savings largely in accelerating its oncology portfolio and launching new neuroscience assets.

Eisai said it does not plan to close any of its main offices or facilities. The company's US operations include R&D facilities in Massachusetts, New Jersey, North Carolina and Pennsylvania, as well as manufacturing facilities in Maryland and North Carolina.

The announcement of the layoffs comes on the heels of Eisai's decision last month to delay the submission of US, European and Japanese marketing applications for its investigational sepsis drug eritoran due to disappointing preliminary results from a global phase III trial. The company had been aiming to submit the applications by March 31, but a preliminary analysis of data showed the drug was not effective in reducing 28-day all-cause mortality in patients with severe sepsis.

The company is also struggling to replace profits lost when the blockbuster Alzheimer's disease drug Aricept (donepezil) lost its patent protection late last year.

9th March 2011

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