- Eli Lilly is trying to trim hundreds of R&D positions less than a month after cutting nearly 500 of its field staff.
- No public statement on the decision was issued. But in an email to BioPharma Dive, the company said it is looking to reduce 200 jobs, or about 3% of its worldwide R&D workforce, and is hoping to achieve that reduction through staff leaving voluntarily.
- "Lilly is focusing its investment in new R&D capabilities to ensure portfolio sustainability," the company said in the email. "We plan to increase our investment and hire in strategic areas, including molecule-making capabilities, immunology and Alzheimer's disease, across our U.S. research sites later this year."
Due the voluntary element of the job cuts, "it’s hard to estimate who in which groups will choose to exit the company," the spokesperson added. As such, Eli Lilly did not give further details on how many employees would leave from certain units or therapeutic research areas.
Plans to increase employment in immunology and Alzheimer's make sense, though, given that CEO David Ricks said continued pipeline expansions for those therapeutic areas were a priority for the company during a fourth quarter earnings call last week.
On the other hand, these most recent job cuts contrast that generally positive call. The Indianapolis-based drugmaker beat analyst expectations due to strong showings from its diabetes franchise, with particular emphasis on Trulicity (dulaglutide), which had $337 million in global sales during the period. Meanwhile, U.S. revenues across all products jumped 14% to $3.2 billion.
Last month, the company eliminated 485 field positions relating to the late-stage failure of its highly anticipated Alzheimer's drug, solanezumab. Employees affected from those layoffs were placed on "reallocation" statuses that lasted 12 weeks, during which they had "the opportunity to post for open, available positions through Lilly's internal posting process," according to a Jan. 6 letter addressed to the Indiana Department of Workforce Development.
The R&D staff affected by this latest round of cuts will be part of their own reallocation program, according to Eli Lilly.