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Sanofi plans 900 job cuts in France in upheaval of research

Future of Toulouse site remains in balance

Sanofi expects to cut 900 jobs by 2015 through an upheaval of its research operations in France.

The French pharma company said the measures would “consist of early retirements, mobility proposals and repositioning in France”, and are considerably less than the 2,500 mentioned by newspaper Le Figaro earlier this month.

The announcement comes despite strong objections from French President Francois Hollande's Socialist government and trade unions, with France facing several major downsizing efforts from large companies in recent months.

Sanofi's latest statement also seems to confirm predictions that cuts will come from research operations, the company's headquarters and its vaccines subsidiary Sanofi Pasteur, where attempts are being made to “improve the economic performance” of its industrial units.

However, there will be no relocation of sites or any change to the number of industrial sites in France, according to Sanofi, although the future of its Toulouse research site is still uncertain following an announcement in July 2012 that it would end operations there.

Sanofi has now said it has identified potential stakeholders who could “maintain the site's scientific or technological capacity”, while a working group, including Sanofi representatives, national and local authorities, will be created to identify possible solutions for the facility.

Other changes to the company's research efforts in France, previously mentioned in July, include the evolution of its site in Montpellier towards a strategic focus on development.

Research activities in Vitry/Alfortville and Chilly-Mazarin/Longjumeau will also be increased, while its Strasbourg site will continue to encourage collaborations with academic researchers and biotechs.

In addition, a global centre of excellence in infectious diseases is being created in Lyon.

Other measures to reduce costs implemented by Sanofi in the past two years, as it copes with patent losses for big-selling drugs, include closure of a plant in the UK with 450 job losses in March, undisclosed reductions following its 2011 takeover of Genzyme and 575 shed positions at Sanofi's commercial operations in France earlier that year.

25th September 2012

From: Research

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