Less than a month after disclosing plans to eliminate nearly 500 jobs, Bristol-Myers Squibb is chopping another 137 positions from various departments and locations as the drugmaker attempts to adjust to a changing product portfolio, pricing challenges and assorted setbacks.
The latest layoffs numbers in the dozens and involve field sales, medical support and data analytics specialists, among others, who work in the US pharmaceutical, global and market research groups, a spokesman tells us. Nearly half are located in Plainsboro, New Jersey, where Bristol-Myers maintains sizeable facilities.
The job cuts follow a decision last month to eliminate 479 positions - mostly sales reps - in the wake of a change in a marketing relationship with Otsuka Pharmaceuticals, which is assuming assume responsbility for promoting the Abilify antipsycotic in the US (back story).
As we noted previously, the moves come amid a difficult stretch for the drugmaker. The FDA has repeatedly postponed a final decision on whether to approve its Eliquis bloodthinner, which is part of a joint effort with Pfizer (PFE) (read here). A decision is now expected in March.
And two months ago, Bristol-Myers (BMY) also dropped an experimental hepatitis C treatment after a patient death and hospitalizations. Earlier this year, the drugmaker agreed to pay $2.5 billion in cash for Inhibitex and the compound (back story).
Bristol-Myers recently reported quarterly earnings that missed Wall Street expectations, even though it was already widely known that a ‘patent cliff’ effect was under way. This, of course, refers to the loss of patent protection for big-selling drugs and the subsequent emergence of lower-cost generic competition. An example is the Plavix bloodthinner.
However, the Bristol-Myers spokesman maintained the latest job cuts are not a cost-saving exercise. Rather, he says the layoffs reflect broader shifts in focus. "Over the past five years," he says, "we have been evolving our business model to anticipate changes in our product ortfolio and the health care environment."