The healthcare giant yesterday notified employees it will consolidate the sales and marketing operations of two subsidiaries, Ortho Biotech and Centocor, leading to roughly 400 job cuts nationwide,The Star-Ledger of New Jersey reports.
The move is a response to the declining sales of its Procrit anemia med, a spokesman tells the paper. Procrit scrips fell sharply last year after the FDA issued new safety warnings, which were also placed on anemia meds sold by Amgen. More recently, an FDA panel recommended that current use should be restricted over concerns the drugs can increase the risk of tumor growth and death.
"It is important that we take these significant and difficult steps in our business to free up resources that can be redeployed to opportunities that will make the greatest difference to patients and to our own future success as a business," Kristine Peterson, J&J's company group chair for biotech, immunology and oncology, wrote in an e-mail to workers.
Ortho Biotech's sales and marketing operations had been based in Bridgewater, New Jersey, but will shift to Centocor's headquarters in Horsham, Pennsylavania, and will be led by Kim Taylor, who is currently president of commercial operations for Ortho Biotech. Centocor's sales and marketing chief, Neal Fowler, stepped down from his post last month. Researchers for Ortho Biotech will remain at the unit's home office in Bridgewater. The consolidation is expected to be completed by year's end.