Pharmaceutical and biotech companies keep slashing their workforce.Just a day after the Federal Reserve announced a second round of bond buying to fight the high unemployment rate, the Labor Department says that initial jobless claims have jumped in the past week. The pharmaceutical and biotech industries certainly haven't helped: In the past few days, several companies have announced some 1,000 job cuts combined, and that's after Abbott Laboratories (ABT) in September announced it would cut 3,000 jobs over the next two years.

The biggest of the reductions this week came from Biogen Idec (BIIB), a Weston, Mass.-based biotech company that makes multiple-sclerosis treatments Tysabri and Avonex. The company on Wednesday released a restructuring plan that will slash 13% of its workforce, or nearly 650 employees, in an effort to save $300 million annually. The company intends to focus on developing neurology treatments, based on its expertise in this area from its multiple-sclerosis work, and to end its research in cardiovascular medicine.

Biogen will close its facilities in San Diego, Waltham, Mass., and Wellesley, Mass., relocating some of its personnel to other offices in Weston, Mass., Cambridge, Mass., and Research Triangle Park, N.C. Biogen also plans to get rid of its oncology and rheumatology sales force for Rituxan, a drug prescribed for non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, chronic lymphocytic leukemia and rheumatoid arthritis, and transfer the selling rights to its partner, Roche's Genentech.

More Cuts Coming

Also on Wednesday, clinical research company Charles River Laboratories (CRL) said it would cut 4% of its staff, or about 300 positions, after reporting disappointing third-quarter earnings on lower sales. Charles River already cut 300 jobs earlier this year. It will now close a leased office, where it performed preclinical services, in Laval, Quebec, and will consolidate its discovery and imaging services division in Michigan with a larger facility in North Carolina.

And small French biotech company NicOx (NICXF) warned in its earnings announcement Wednesday that it will halve its workforce at its headquarters, indicating that at least 30 jobs will be lost. The company said it would close its U.S. headquarters shortly after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration rejected NicOx's anti-inflammatory drug, naproxcinod, in July. The job loss isn't restricted to the U.S., either. NicOx also said it is considering restructuring its research center in Italy.

Meanwhile, Acceleron Pharma, a privately held Cambridge biotech company developing new therapies to treat musculoskeletal, metabolic, and cancer-related diseases, cut 57 employees, or roughly 40% of its workforce, late last month, The Boston Globe reported.

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James Smith

Big business won during this last election. So those of you who voted for them have no right to bitch!!!

November 05 2010 at 9:52 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to James Smith's comment

James Smith 9:52 AM Nov 5, 2010 Big business won during this last election. So those of you who voted for them have no right to bitch!!! ************************************************ James,, You're obviously condemned to stay in obscurity for the rest of your life if you believe that only republicans have their mitts in big business,they're ALL involved in BB, if America wasn't driven by big Business. we would be called something like Rwanda, Uganda or Tanzania.......

November 05 2010 at 10:11 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

No pity here .. Pharmaceutical companies have been taking the drugs off the market that can actually cure you of one disease or another and replaced them with drugs that makes you go back to the doctors on a regular basis along with having to be constantly tested for their side affects while laughin all the way to the bank. They have the population by the ass and people are falling for it, I am astonished when i listen to the conversations people are having among themselves, young and old about their health , its a constant subject and live their lives prisoners of the doctors advice. Pharmas and the medical profession definitely sleep together knowing full well that people fear for their lives and are taking full advantage of it.... You have to question your physician and if you get a vague answer,,,,,,,,RUN.....

November 05 2010 at 9:41 AM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply

The CEOs/owners of the pharmaceutical companies are amongst the wealthiest people in the USA. Their laying off employees is merely to enhance their wealths. The exorbitant costs of paharmaceuticals is a root cause of the ever escalating health care costs. These guys are so economically and politically powerful that no politicians are willing to take them on. Obama criticized the insurance companies for their outrageous 5% - 6% profits; but he didn't say one one criticism of the pharmaceutical industry that had a profit margin of 25% in 2009. What a glaring "oversight" that was, huh? The government needs to enact regulations against the horrificly profane profits of the pharmaceutical industry. That is the first step in effectively reducing health care costs.

November 05 2010 at 9:23 AM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply

I have no pity for drug companies. Although I'm sure some have come up with some great treatments over the years, overall they're tyrants. They have lobbied our Government extensively to possess the monopoly that they have on treating illness rather than to "cure" it or "prevent." This monopoly is what sustains the rediculous profits they make. There is alternative medicine which has "cured" all my chronic conditions but they have lobbied to ban just about all of them. Even threatening and chasing Dr.'s out of the country who treat patients with anything other than a "drug." They have also successfully banned medicine from other countries to enter the US which could save us money as well.

November 05 2010 at 7:56 AM Report abuse +8 rate up rate down Reply
3 replies to defelicep's comment

How are those tax breaks working out. How many years have these companies been getting corporate welfare and still laying off people looking for that HUGE profit. If we do not start penilizing these corporations for outsourcing our jobs we will be the next third workd country.

November 05 2010 at 7:17 AM Report abuse +5 rate up rate down Reply
Robert & Lisa

Obama and thugs, wrecking our economy to force us into communism.

November 05 2010 at 4:11 AM Report abuse -6 rate up rate down Reply
Sam Das

It is the global vortex where higher paying jobs are recycled. This will be vogue for a duration of 3rd super cycle. So good bye devaloped economies and hello devaloping economies. SUKU

November 05 2010 at 1:05 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply


November 05 2010 at 12:42 AM Report abuse +6 rate up rate down Reply