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S-A to cut US pharma workforce

Sanofi-aventis has announced plans to cut about 25 per cent of its US Pharmaceutical Operations workforce, laying off about 1,700 workers

Sanofi-aventis (S-A) has announced plans to cut about 25 per cent of its US Pharmaceutical Operations workforce, laying off about 1,700 workers.

In addition, the company said its US Pharmaceuticals business will narrow its focus to diabetes, atrial fibrillation and oncology.

"This restructuring will allow the company to focus resources and people on these key areas," the company said. "It will also position the company for growth following the impact of patent expiries, increase business development and other innovative partnerships, and ensure appropriate investment in late-life cycle products."

The US patent on S-A's cancer drug Taxotere (docetaxel) expires next month, and the patent on the blood-thinner Plavix (clopidogrel), the company's top-selling drug, is due to expire in 2011.

S-A currently employs 6,900 people in its US Pharmaceutical Operations division and 13,000 in the US in total.

Separately, the board of the US biotech company Genzyme announced that it has again rejected a takeover bid from Paris-based S-A, reiterating that it believes that the offer of $69 per share fails to appropriately recognise the value of the company. S-A last week initiated a hostile takeover attempt and set December 10 as the deadline for Genzyme stockholders to tender their shares.

11th October 2010

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