GSK eliminates 650 jobs amid R&D revamp
- British drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline will cut 650 jobs, including 100 each from its Philadelphia and North Carolina locations, as it works to reshape its research and development efforts and build a more competitive pipeline of new drugs.
- In July, GSK unveiled a restructuring plan that it said would result in annual cost savings of £400 million, or about $520 million, by 2021. The announced job eliminations are part of that program, a company spokesperson confirmed to BioPharma Dive.
- "In some areas, we will be making reductions in positions and in others we will be changing the way we work," the spokesperson said. "The savings from this restructuring will be fully reinvested in R&D and to support commercialization of new products, which will fuel innovation and our future growth."
Under CEO Emma Walmsley, and now new R&D chief Hal Barron, GSK is attempting to regain its research edge after several years of uneven performance.
The drugmaker actually ranks in top half-dozen or so pharma companies by number of approved new drugs in the decade to 2015. But it's near the bottom when looking at the commercial returns and future prospects of those assets. An 2017 assessment by Walmsley judged the company to have spread its resources too thin at the cost of failing to back its "winners."
In response, GSK decided to focus 80% of its R&D spending on respiratory diseases, HIV, immuno-inflammation and oncology. That strategy led the drugmaker to last year shed 30 research programs that fell outside those core areas.
"Under Hal Barron's leadership, we are reallocating resources to support this new R&D approach, and savings realised from the new major restructuring programme will be used to help fund targeted increases in R&D spending as well as support new products," Walmsley said in a statement this July.
Of the 650 jobs eliminated, 450 come from the field while 200 are back office and support functions at GSK's sites in Philadelphia and Research Triangle Park. All told, GSK employs 15,000 people in the U.S.
The layoffs aren't the first this year, either. About 1,000 positions were cut in early August when GSK closed a manufacturing plant in Bangladesh. And just several weeks ago, another 165 jobs were eliminated as a result of GSK shuttering an over-the-counter drug manufacturing plant in Sligo, Ireland.
Follow Ned Pagliarulo on Twitter