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Servier announces job cuts as pressures mount

Frenchpharma firm to let go of 610 workers

ServierFrench pharma company Servier has said it will lay off 610 workers as it faces continuing pressures on its business.

The privately-owned company said the bulk of the job losses would occur among its commercial operations within France, and that the move was a difficult but necessary decision aimed at safeguarding its competitiveness in the market.

Servier said its hand had been forced by "competitive, regulatory and economic pressures" including patent losses on some key brands, enforced price cuts and de-listing of products from formularies, as well as the high cost of R&D.

The company has 21,000 employees worldwide, including 5,000 in France, and had revenues of €4bn ($4.2bn) last year. The cuts represent 12% of its French workforce. Servier's sales within France have been cut in half in the last five years to less than €250m, and most of the layoffs involve its domestic salesforce.

"Management will mobilise all means available to minimise the social impact of this project and to identify, in consultation with staff representatives, the most appropriate support solutions for the employees concerned," said the company in a statement.

The announcement comes after a difficult period for Servier, which has been hit by a number of setbacks including an EU antitrust fine over pay-for-delay deals and a safety scandal in France concerning its diabetes drug Mediator (benfluorex).

Servier has also had some pipeline setbacks of late. Last year the company abandoned development of its HDAC inhibitor abexinostat for cancer, returning rights to Pharmacyclics, while in October it walked away from a $450m immuno-oncology partnership with Macrogenics.

Aside from the job cuts, Servier has also announced a re-focusing of its business including an increased emphasis on oncology R&D - the company recently joined with Pfizer partnering Cellectis' CAR-T therapy - as well as the development of generic and biosimilar medicines.

The reorganisation will be implemented in the second half of 2016, according to the company.

Article by
Phil Taylor

27th November 2015

From: Research, Sales

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