- Merck & Co. plans to close its Miami Lakes, FL-based facility, laying off approximately 112 employees in the process, according to a WARN notice filed with the Florida Department of Opportunity.
- Layoffs will occur in two waves, with the first beginning on November 15. The remainder will be completed by the end of the year, and the Miami Lakes site will be closed permanently, according to a letter sent by Merck to the state which was obtained by FiercePharma.
- Merck has substantially trimmed its footprint over the past three years, cutting nearly 9,000 positions across sales, administration and research. The ongoing restructuring has also involved site closures — such as a North Wales, PA-based screening facility which was shuttered over the summer.
Since the 2009 merger with Schering-Plough, Merck has cut back its footprint considerably, aiming to shed about 36,000 jobs and simplify its facilities network.
Nearly 30,000 positions, including some contractor posts and vacant positions, have been eliminated as part of those efforts to streamline the combined company, according to the latest Form 10-K filed in February of this year.
On top of that, Merck initiated another restructuring program in 2013 which involved further job cuts in sales, administration, headquarters and R&D divisions, along with other real estate sales.
The Miami Lakes facility was one of eight manufacturing plants tagged for closure in Merck's post-merger consolidation plans. Others included sites in Italy, Portugal, Mexico, Brazil and Argentina.
Other major pharmas, including AstraZeneca, Pfizer, and Novartis, have made similar moves to streamline their operations. Pfizer, for example, recently closed a manufacturing facility in Boulder, CO, as well as a vaccine plant in Pearl River, NY.
While some closures are tied to post-merger consolidations, other companies are closing plants in a bid to outsource some operations to contract research and manufacturing operations. This is a sector that is growing, and Research and Markets predicts that it could be worth $84 billion by 2020, growing at a 6.4% compounded annual growth rate between 2014 and 2020.