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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: Twitter: Dereklowe

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January 12, 2012

Sanofi's Bridgewater Site - Closing This Week?

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Posted by Derek

Someone in a position to know has told me that Sanofi's Bridgewater, NJ site, which has long been a focus of layoffs, is now closing even faster than people thought. Originally, it was supposed to be "by the end of 2012". According to my source, though, they told everyone there yesterday that the last day would be Friday (!). No buyer for the site is known - rumor have had it that Allergan is interested, but that would seem to be far off, if indeed it's happening at all. Any more details out there?

Comments (28) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: Business and Markets


1. Ellen Clark, Clark Executive Search on January 12, 2012 9:39 AM writes...

I haven't heard a thing. Often my phone rings off the hook when sites close. I'll let you know if I hear anything. So sad.

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2. SomeGuy on January 12, 2012 9:45 AM writes...

From what I have heard (and I do have a little second-hand knowledge of the situation) it will be closing soon, certainly sooner than the end of 2012, but not by Friday.

Wouldn't be surprised if it was by the end of February or March though.

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3. CR on January 12, 2012 12:04 PM writes...

From my sources (as of this AM), the staff was notified yesterday of their status and they were grouped into 3 classes (if you will): 1. Those employees that are being offered a position in Boston (very, very few); 2. those employees notified they are not being retained, but asked to stay on to help close the site/clean up labs/prepare equipment for relocation; 3. Those who will leave the company on Friday (1/13). Those in group 1 will obviously help those in group 2; but will be dealing with relocation. Those in group 3 will be paid until severance package starts in a month or so.

Thus, all work has stopped at BW and the only thing left to do is clean up/prepare for closing in a month.

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4. David Formerly Known as a Chemist on January 12, 2012 1:44 PM writes...

Sanofi also laid off 100 people in R&D at their Canadian (mostly Montreal) sites today.

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5. Anonymous on January 12, 2012 4:03 PM writes...

What a waste...typical of American business...

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6. Also Sanofied on January 12, 2012 6:04 PM writes...

Very, very sad but not surprised. mem - Sanofi is a pioneer in "RIFing" having started this 18 years ago by firing 600+ excellent scientists at Sterling-Winthrop.

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7. anonyMouse on January 12, 2012 7:17 PM writes...

I can confirm #3. 60 days notice was given on the 11th. Most will be gone tomorrow, but some have to stay and help wrap up with no extra compensation in order to preserve their 2011 bonuses. About 1/3 got offers in the Boston area, but many won't go. February: Layoffs at the Genzyme sites.

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8. T on January 12, 2012 10:08 PM writes...

Is there any reason folks (regardless of company) seem to reject offers to relocate to Boston/Cambridge? Cost of living? It seemed to me a fair amount of biologists at Groton had offers to relocate to Cambridge, but many declined.

I am just curious if there is a larger trend at work here - since it is tough to find a job nowadays.

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9. @8and9 on January 12, 2012 10:41 PM writes...

anonyMouse, were those receiving relocation offers involved in late-stage product development and regulatory affairs?

T, aside from high living costs in metro-Boston (bear in mind that New Jersey ain't that cheap either), perhaps those who declined the relocation offer didn't want to uproot their families and face future uncertainty. As shown by recent history, Big Pharma is notorious for relocating its researchers to sites that eventually get throttled (e.g., Roche Palo Alto), even if significant infrastructure investments have been made (e.g., AstraZeneca in Delaware). Who knows how long any of the transplantees will continue to work for Sanofi-Aventis? I presume that most "older workers" would rather have the moral/financial support of family and friends instead of a dead-end job.

At the risk of sounding cynical, it would behoove any pharma researcher (chemist or biologist) to have a non-researcher spouse earning a decent salary.

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10. anonyMouse on January 13, 2012 6:51 AM writes...

Lots have kids in school, houses in a tough market and spouses with jobs in NJ. It's also been made clear that Genzyme will have layoffs a year from now, so a move to Boston could be a ticket to a quick layoff.

Essentially all were in R&D. Especially R.

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11. CR on January 13, 2012 9:17 AM writes...

From my sources, only 5 medicinal chemists were offered relocation to Boston. Seems like a very small number, but the medicinal chemistry unit had been downsized 18 months or so ago when they went to the DPU/TPU whatever Viehbacher called it at S-A. ~50 in total are offered to move from Research - remember, S-A closed the pilot plant at BW last December so not much D going on in BW. It is not clear whether the existing site in Boston can manage that many people - labs are old and small and that is why some will be moving to the Genzyme site with layoffs at the Genzyme site as well.

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12. Anonymous on January 14, 2012 9:09 AM writes...

850 people were affected. Approx 130 were offtered to relocate to Cambridge. 400 were given pink slips. Of those many were told they could make Friday their last day with an exit interview in March whereby their severance package will begin. So essentially they are given from Jan 13 to mid March paid time off and then severance. The company has always been good to its employees and unfortunately, this is something management feels will be better for their future of the company (closing down bridgewater in lieu of Cambridge)

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13. Anonymous on January 15, 2012 9:55 PM writes...

Watch out Roche're next!!! Did the layoffs from the Roche operational excellence really make an improvement?? I think not! Look no further than the dead wood in your biology and chemistry depts. There is no future there. Seems like everyone is working on their resumes and linkedin profiles...

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14. DJ DrZ on January 17, 2012 9:32 AM writes...

#12...they aren't being nice, its a law that they have to pay for 60 days post notification if the total number affected is large enough. I hate that I know that.

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15. AnonOmar on January 20, 2012 12:35 PM writes...

As usual, this 'relocation' to Boston too was awarded based on who knows who than any objective suitability criteria. Managers who have been typically known as the sneaky, buttkissing, rumor-mongering types (we are talking typical divide and rule among subordinates types) have been offered relo although no one knows what/if their role in Boston would be. Sadly, it is the main reason why this place went down the tubes in the first place.

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16. Anonymous on January 21, 2012 1:19 AM writes...

@15 You are 100% correct and this problem is not localized to Sanofi. Don't forget... bias, favoritism cronyism and narcissism. It's at Roche too just up the road. The good news is that in the end "justice prevails" and my guess is these companies will suffer a painful death. We are witnessing it NOW...

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17. Ibex on January 27, 2012 11:00 PM writes...

I confirm #7, layoffs at Genzyme next week.

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18. Anonymous on February 3, 2012 12:34 PM writes...

Genzyme R&D in MA (Framingham & Waltham) was hit with layoffs this week. Does anyone know which departments/how many people were impacted?

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19. Anonymous on February 4, 2012 7:52 AM writes...

About 100 employees were affected in both sites. Waltham site was hit harder. Politics play a major role for selecting either the department or people. The "Discovery" field in Genzyme will be agonizing at a faster rate.

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20. Anonymous on February 6, 2012 10:14 PM writes...

Waltham chemistry no longer exists. Few remain and Bridgewater/Cambridge chemists will be taking over shortly.

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21. True on February 7, 2012 8:16 AM writes...

Following up Genzyme lay off in Waltham site: Apparently, The responsiblilty of laying off people was in the hand of those who hate JEWS, MUSLIMS and GAYS. They represent 10% and they are gone. It is ashame to descriminate in the 21 st century!I hope justice and lawsuit will be brought up against these crimes!

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22. Anonymous on February 8, 2012 10:12 AM writes...

Confirm 21:
They got rid of 3 gays, 2 Moslims and 2 Jews in Waltham (7 out of 65 which represents 10 %)

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23. Anonymous on February 12, 2012 6:30 PM writes...

You may or may not be correct. No one will ever know. It's all hidden in the HR archives. What is true, however is that during layoffs, bias favoritism and narcissism seems to prevail. So, what you see is talented people being affected by the layoff. Why?? Perhaps the management doesn't like them (for some strange reason..could be racial but may be just a simple bias against the person's character OR they could be a threat because they have a strong knowledge??). Here's my experience...If you challenge an arrogant task master manager (in any way including constructive), then the wrath of Kahn will rain down on your soul. Pardon my Star Trek referral....but that's reality. My advice...don't dwell on it...move on, show your strengths and do what you love to do. Don't feel that the numbskull management at your former company should dictate your future...

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24. Anonymous on February 14, 2012 3:36 PM writes...

All of the female chemists were also laid off. HR did not care when this and 21 was brought to their attention.

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25. Anonymous on February 16, 2012 7:24 PM writes...

HR in Waltham and more specifically Sanofi will care when the times come to file lawsuit. it is matter of time ( related to 21 and 24). Patience is a virtue!

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26. Anonymous on February 16, 2012 7:24 PM writes...

HR in Waltham and more specifically Sanofi will care when the times come to file lawsuit. it is matter of time ( related to 21 and 24). Patience is a virtue!

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27. abk on June 27, 2012 11:57 AM writes...

@13 How prescient...Roche Nutley on the chopping block as predicted.

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28. cprocopio on January 29, 2013 6:58 PM writes...

I have seen a French-speaking support position being advertised for Bridgewater. Does anyone know if the "Scouting & Partnering and the Contracting groups of the Strategy, External Innovation & Science Policy team" is still doing business at the Bridgewater location?

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