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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: 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

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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


COMMENTS

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.

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

AZ management - pure scum

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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....

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

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

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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.

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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.....

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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.

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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.

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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...

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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.....

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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!!

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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.

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