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DBL%20Hendrix%20small.png College chemistry, 1983

Derek Lowe The 2002 Model

Dbl%20new%20portrait%20B%26W.png After 10 years of blogging. . .

Derek Lowe, an Arkansan by birth, got his BA from Hendrix College and his PhD in organic chemistry from Duke before spending time in Germany on a Humboldt Fellowship on his post-doc. He's worked for several major pharmaceutical companies since 1989 on drug discovery projects against schizophrenia, Alzheimer's, diabetes, osteoporosis and other diseases. To contact Derek email him directly: derekb.lowe@gmail.com Twitter: Dereklowe

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In the Pipeline

« Cranking Away | Main | HER2 Confusion »

February 26, 2010

Layoff News

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Posted by Derek

More job loss news to report, unfortunately. Pharmalot comes in with an item that fits with what I'm hearing, that Sanofi-Aventis appears to be making small cuts, over and over, at its various sites. There hasn't been a single big announcement that I've heard, but the company seems to be shrinking headcount nonetheless.

And I've also heard recently that Astra-Zeneca is ready to announce more layoffs, although I don't have a handle on the size. This appears to be some of the follow-through from their earlier nonspecific announcements - it looks as if they're finally going to start getting down to some details. Anyone with more information on either of these situations is welcome to add it in the comments. . .

Comments (19) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: Business and Markets


COMMENTS

1. PharmaHeretic on February 26, 2010 9:59 AM writes...

They should just fire everyone but the directors, sell everything and declare a huge once off profit and retire.

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2. anchor on February 26, 2010 10:42 AM writes...

Derek : Where are you my friend? Off late, I hear that many companies are practicing the fine art of "rolling layoffs". Meaning, few people a day spread over several departments (including R and D) over a period of months/years. The reward-you save yourself from the bludgeoning media and ofcourse corante.com!

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3. Hap on February 26, 2010 11:05 AM writes...

...and from those pesky state benefit-and-notification laws. Unless they catch you.

I wonder if states will start to monitor the numbers of people employed at pharma companies applying for unemployment to see what the size of their layoffs actually are.

The social networks might be helpful for this sort of thing, as well - if other chemists realize that there are lots of people from specific places being laid off, well, then they can act accordingly. The appropriate local authorities can also look into the stealth layoffs as well (or other interested parties).

I guess somebody figured the easiest way to recruit new workers into a field that insists on discarding everyone but its upper management is to pretend that nothing is happening, and hope that no one notices. I guess pharma companies now figure that they have none of that pesky good reputation thing to lose. I wonder how that happened - it wouldn't have anything to do with the few people whose jobs keep getting saved in this, would it?

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4. Anonymous on February 26, 2010 12:23 PM writes...

Info about the AZ announcements
http://www.biofind.com/rumor-mill/astrazeneca-official

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5. d brennan on February 26, 2010 12:27 PM writes...

AZ R&D folk- pants down -waiting for a large portion - Tues 2nd March....

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6. anonymous s-a associate on February 26, 2010 7:00 PM writes...

There will be many layoffs in about another month, when those given 8 weeks to find jobs within the company run out of time. They will get decent packages, however. There are also many folks who have been given positions they feel are untenable. They will presumably leave without packages. I am among those who have benefited from the reorg. This time, at least.

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7. Anonymous on February 27, 2010 6:51 AM writes...

AZ's Charnwood site might be closed down

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8. sharkface on February 27, 2010 9:02 PM writes...

I wish the best for the ones affected. There was an interesting article published yesterday. Many Americans polled believe the 21st century will belong to China. This is shocking news. We are treating our scientists like used toilet paper while we send our jobs overseas. Our country is getting poorer from this globalization crap. My dad never went to college, raised a family of 5, and sent us to college. My uncle worked for the same company for 45 years. These days, there is no loyalty towards employees or this country. Instead of stock options, promotions, and bonuses, these treasones jackasses sending our jobs overseas should the first to be let go.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/02/24/AR2010022405168.html

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9. milkshake on February 28, 2010 12:33 AM writes...

I think there are sensible alternatives of big pharma, for organic chemists 1) a stratup 2) custom synthesis lab 3) academia 4) government and military 5) non-pharma research such as fragrance, material science and agrichemicals. Most of these alterantives require a change of location, leaving the beloved drug discovery path and/or taking a severe pay-cut. But all of them are more rewarding than long term unemployment (or teaching general chemistry to freshmen at a liberal arts college).

The most adventurous types with some bright idea and a dead wish might want to look into starting their own company.

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10. Skeptic on February 28, 2010 8:48 PM writes...

Searching for related jobs only reinforces your ignorance as to why they are being lost in the first place.

Wall Street has financialized the public domain to inaugurate a neo-feudal tollbooth economy while privatizing the government itself, headed by the Treasury and Federal Reserve. Left untouched is the story how industrial capitalism has succumbed to an insatiable and unsustainable finance capitalism, whose newest "final stage" seems to be a zero-sum game of casino capitalism based on derivative swaps and kindred hedge fund gambling innovations.

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11. Skeptic on March 1, 2010 4:18 AM writes...

"These 'strategic layoffs' are of a totally different nature from the traditional cyclical layoffs. What is going is gone forever. Growth without increased employment is not a forecast; it is an established fact"

"Even if someone is hired for a job, we forget about that as soon as he or she is in. The work is being done mostly in project teams which may often include outsiders. People have assignemts, "own" a problem or an opportunity, but not a job"

"What is the percentage of jobs which are performed by temporary labor? Most people's estimates fall in the range between 2% and 20%. In fact, it is 100%, 85% of us still happen to be in denial"

"Initially repetitive tasks were computerized in one area after another of the corporation. However, all computer applications were really being built around the existing organizational structure and management procedures. One day someone though to reverse the process by asking the simple question: How should we organize ourselves to best take advantage of the available information technologies"

The Future of Money: Bernard Lietaer

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12. bbooooooya on March 1, 2010 8:24 AM writes...

"Many Americans polled believe the 21st century will belong to China. This is shocking news."

No, just a natural progression of economies waxing and waning. It's less fun for those in the waning economy.

If America wants to compete with China it will have to somehow show that it can produce a better product at a cheaper price. This obviously has not happened in tube socks, and good luck finding a US built DVD or Bluray player. Molecules are no different.

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13. Anonymous on March 1, 2010 1:46 PM writes...

"If America wants to compete with China it will have to somehow show that it can produce a better product at a cheaper price. This obviously has not happened in tube socks, and good luck finding a US built DVD or Bluray player. Molecules are no different."

Perhaps, but it helps if they're not fixing the exchange rate. At the moment the playing field isn't level because China gets to keep its exchange rate low against the dollar. Of course this potentially stokes up inflation internally, but they figure they'll deal with that once they've wiped out their competitors in the West. Once they're gone they're gone for good.

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14. bbooooooya on March 1, 2010 2:19 PM writes...

"At the moment the playing field isn't level because China gets to keep its exchange rate low against the dollar."

Don;t forget lack of environmental regulations and, i assume, no worries with notions like workers comp, health benefits, or occupational healt and safety.

Nope, it's not a level playing field, but it;s the one we're on.

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15. Tok on March 1, 2010 4:22 PM writes...

It's a playing field that can be leveled through worker safety and pollution based tariffs. You want to sell products to our economy at 0% tariff? You better have the same worker rights we do.

Rather than this, we have massive "free"-trade agreements with countries that almost still have slave labor.

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16. Anonymous on March 2, 2010 7:19 AM writes...

"It's a playing field that can be leveled through worker safety and pollution based tariffs. You want to sell products to our economy at 0% tariff? You better have the same worker rights we do.

Rather than this, we have massive "free"-trade agreements with countries that almost still have slave labor."

Precisely. At my previous employer we were encouraged to indicate to our contractors what safety measures we would employ if we were doing the chemistry ourselves, knowing full well that they would never do anything we said. We became aware that a number of their chemists were hospitalised as a result of accidents, but were encouraged to not delve too deeply. Honestly it's like going back a hundred years...

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17. Anonymous on March 2, 2010 9:40 AM writes...

Charnwood gone
Avlon R&D gone
Lund gone
Arrow Gone
KUDOS gone
Wilmington R&D gone

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18. bbooooooya on March 2, 2010 9:56 AM writes...

"It's a playing field that can be leveled through worker safety and pollution based tariffs. You want to sell products to our economy at 0% tariff?"

Good luck with that. Problems here include assuming that congress has backbone (it does not), forgetting who is 2nd biggest holder of US debt, and forgettnig that americans like cheap stuff. It's a great system, I get cheap tube socks and we don't need to pollute this country. Nope, that's never going to backfire!

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19. Anonymous on March 2, 2010 10:17 AM writes...

"I get cheap tube socks"

Of course there comes a point when the US won't be able to borrow any more, and because it doesn't actually make anything, even those tube socks become out of reach. Then you get to scavenge rubbish tips to earn a lving like the rest of the 3rd world.

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