UPDATE: Shire's Boston move involves 'mass layoff' of up to 600 employees
- Shire is joining the mass biopharma exodus to MA and trimming its Chesterbrook, PA workforce by 600 workers. The company will be sending the 600 staffers to Lexington, which is part of the Cambridge/Boston R&D supercluster. UPDATE: FierceBiotech reported in an update on Friday that Shire's expected exodus to Boston will trigger a "mass layoff" that will begin in April and could wind up cutting the company's workforce by as many as 600 people. It is still unclear how many of these workers will be moved to Boston and how many will be laid off.
- Many other biopharma companies have a presence in Boston, including Pfizer, Novartis, Amgen and Bazalta.
- The overriding goal of the move is to benefit from economies of scale.
Late last year, the hot news about Shire wasn't what was happening, but rather what wasn't happening. The proposed $55 billion merger between Shire and AbbVie was a bust when AbbVie backed out.
But that's now ancient history. Shire was left flush with cash and went on a buying spree, most recently acquiring Meritage Pharma for $245 million and NPS Pharma for $5 billion. It's all part of CEO Flemming Ornskov's 10-by-20 sales plan ($10 billion in revenues by 2020). Moving to the red-hot center of the Boston-based R&D hub is a perfect next step in Ornsov's plan, which seems to slowly be coming to fruition.
UPDATE: Shire is now joining a growing list of biopharma companies that are laying off hundred of employees in restructuring efforts. In a letter to Pennsylvania officials that was forwarded to FierceBiotech, the company wrote: "It is anticipated that the layoffs will begin in April, 2015 and will be completed by the end of March 2016. The number of layoffs is not clear at this time, as it is dependent on the number of employees who accept offers to relocate to Massachusetts; however this entire undertaking could result in an employment loss of approximately 500-600."