About this Author
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

Chemistry and Drug Data: Drugbank
Chempedia Lab
Synthetic Pages
Organic Chemistry Portal
Not Voodoo

Chemistry and Pharma Blogs:
Org Prep Daily
The Haystack
A New Merck, Reviewed
Liberal Arts Chemistry
Electron Pusher
All Things Metathesis
C&E News Blogs
Chemiotics II
Chemical Space
Noel O'Blog
In Vivo Blog
Terra Sigilatta
BBSRC/Douglas Kell
Realizations in Biostatistics
ChemSpider Blog
Organic Chem - Education & Industry
Pharma Strategy Blog
No Name No Slogan
Practical Fragments
The Curious Wavefunction
Natural Product Man
Fragment Literature
Chemistry World Blog
Synthetic Nature
Chemistry Blog
Synthesizing Ideas
Eye on FDA
Chemical Forums
Symyx Blog
Sceptical Chymist
Lamentations on Chemistry
Computational Organic Chemistry
Mining Drugs
Henry Rzepa

Science Blogs and News:
Bad Science
The Loom
Uncertain Principles
Fierce Biotech
Blogs for Industry
Omics! Omics!
Young Female Scientist
Notional Slurry
Nobel Intent
SciTech Daily
Science Blog
Gene Expression (I)
Gene Expression (II)
Adventures in Ethics and Science
Transterrestrial Musings
Slashdot Science
Cosmic Variance
Biology News Net

Medical Blogs
DB's Medical Rants
Science-Based Medicine
Respectful Insolence
Diabetes Mine

Economics and Business
Marginal Revolution
The Volokh Conspiracy
Knowledge Problem

Politics / Current Events
Virginia Postrel
Belmont Club
Mickey Kaus

Belles Lettres
Uncouth Reflections
Arts and Letters Daily
In the Pipeline: Don't miss Derek Lowe's excellent commentary on drug discovery and the pharma industry in general at In the Pipeline

In the Pipeline

« A Federation of Independent Researchers? | Main | More on the Federation of Independent Scientists: Journal Access »

April 13, 2012

AstraZeneca Cuts Again

Email This Entry

Posted by Derek

I have word today that AstraZeneca has told the scientists at Reims that the French site will be closed by the end of the year, with oncology being "consolidated" in Alderley Park and the Boston area.

It's a good guess, given the patent situation the company's facing and the pipeline it has to deal with it, that this won't be the last announcement of its kind. . .

Comments (13) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: Business and Markets


1. dearieme on April 13, 2012 6:32 AM writes...

I once turned down an invitation to work for Zeneca (as it then was). Phew! Academia pays badly in Britain but at least it saw me through to a decent pension.

Permalink to Comment

2. tedthechemist on April 13, 2012 6:52 AM writes...

AZ management - pure scum

Permalink to Comment

3. DrSnowboard on April 13, 2012 1:36 PM writes...

Sounds about right, Reims was a small, highly efficient unit under a charismatic medicinal chemistry leader in Laurent Hennequin. Please let the AZ folk and Boston and AP shout out for their leaders....

Permalink to Comment

4. No drugs no jobs on April 14, 2012 12:57 PM writes...

There are some great chemists in Reims. A real shame.

Permalink to Comment

5. poor lonesome chemist on April 14, 2012 1:29 PM writes...

Sad news and the decision still makes non sense: cheap, effective and awarded people, optimised collaboration and great communication with Alderley Park's scientists. Reducing the AZ footprint (from 3 to 2 Oncology sites) is understandable in the international environment but this way is just not logical from the scientists' point of view. I wish the real reasons were disclosed, AZ owes Reims's scientists those reasons.
DIversity is key for a compagny to minimize risks in a given business, I'm not convinced AZ has learned this through the years and it might be the first big pharma to collapse.
No doubt that Reims's scientists will overcome this situation once again..

Permalink to Comment

6. Anonymous on April 15, 2012 7:57 AM writes...

Apparent cost is the only reason and was actually the only reason for all that "change". By the way I think in any nuclear power plant more people are actually working than in whole AZ global research - and even in the old days these numbers would have come quite close. But as we learned its not the number of scientists.
Nevertheless the shareholders (except me) are loving it. What a shame.

Permalink to Comment

7. knowwhosthere on April 16, 2012 9:27 AM writes...

I don't get it, they hired a lot of the "scientists" in Waltham through temp agencies and from a combichem IPO scam company, why do they think they should be taken seriously? Empty pipelines Big Pharma CEO's ? Go figure.....

Permalink to Comment

8. cashinmyoptions on April 16, 2012 9:43 AM writes...

It's comical the way these companies hire via temp agencies, don't provide real jobs with benefits etc. all the way from RA to Senior Scientist levels.

Would anyone worth hiring even consider such a garbage position, yet these places are filled with such clowns.

Then you hear all these stories about how highly qualified the staff is, so and so is such a "talented researcher".

Yet there are permenant high paying positions for inept middle managers and business types.

Hey Big Pharma CEO, you really want everyone to think you've made an honest effort at building your "pipeline"?

Sorry but the vast majority of pharma endeavors, both big and startup sized, has been nothing but smoke and mirror shows for IPO's and stock market fake outs.

What's happening to the industry now is long overdue, it will be a while before it's taken seriously again.

Permalink to Comment

9. DrSnowboard on April 16, 2012 4:32 PM writes...

There is a serious undervaluation of the team ethos in drug discovery and the value of having a fully committed , integrated, medicinal biology and chemistry unit, working together to put a compound into man. Not just to prolong the project, career of some, business unit of many. I am surprised the consultants that AZ employed did not value Rheims above Boston for example. 10 years without a candidate in man, I believe, despite growth investment. Maybe their answer didn't fit on the management graph / powerpoint. Which obviously is the important thing in life.

Permalink to Comment

10. Dr. Manhattan on April 17, 2012 12:40 PM writes...

It is my understanding that almost the entire Pfizer senior leadership has been transplanted to AZ. Since we know how well they did at Pfizer...

Permalink to Comment

11. Anonymous on April 17, 2012 4:52 PM writes...

@10. That's how it works! In fact some of GSK senior management was transplanted to Roche. All of a sudden in 2010-2012 and probably beyond you see layoffs at Roche. Hummmm.....

Permalink to Comment

12. Anonymous on April 18, 2012 12:13 AM writes...

I did hear that AstraZeneca was hiring PhD's for research positions in Shanghai. After all that hard work making 35k as a postdoc, you can now make 40k in China. Yay!!

Permalink to Comment

13. ShakaDeemus on April 18, 2012 10:58 AM writes...

All well known R&D models need economies of scale to be effective... AZ have been too slow to react to the changing climate in pharma and are now suffering the consequences. Outsourcing to China or India simply won't work.

This has nothing to do with individual scientists or even scientific managers, it's all down to a flawed company strategy that has (in my opinion) condemned Big Pharma research science to death.

On a brighter note, this process will almost certainly be evolutionary. I.e. the scientists who are prepared to take risks will be the ones who are successful in the future. Any scientists with the slightest amount of entrepreneurial nature should be leaving Big Pharma's and setting up the companies that the Big Pharma's will be buying in the next few years.

Permalink to Comment


Remember Me?


Email this entry to:

Your email address:

Message (optional):

The Last Post
The GSK Layoffs Continue, By Proxy
The Move is Nigh
Another Alzheimer's IPO
Cutbacks at C&E News
Sanofi Pays to Get Back Into Oncology
An Irresponsible Statement About Curing Cancer
Oliver Sacks on Turning Back to Chemistry