Biogen cutting 13% of work force, but some jobs moving to RTP

The biotechnology company, which has two operations in Triangle area, says it is laying off 13 percent of its work force to cut costs.

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Biotechnology company Biogen Idec Inc. (Nasdaq: BIIB) says it is laying off 13 percent of its work force to cut costs.

Biogen, based in Weston, Mass., has about 4,750 employees, with the job cuts affecting roughly 617 workers.

Biogen has two significant operations in the Research Triangle Park, N.C. area, including a manufacturing plant and research and development operation in RTP.

The company currently has more than 800 employees in the Triangle.

However, the restructuring could mean an increase in Biogen jobs in the Triangle.

"The company will relocate its U.S. workforce from six current locations into three existing state-of-the-art facilities in Weston and Cambridge, Mass., and Research Triangle Park, NC. ," the company said in the announcement.

It operates a manufacturing center in RTP and a customer service operation in Durham.

The company says it will focus on focus on neurology and leverage its strengths in biologics research and development and manufacturing to pursue select biotechnology-based therapies. It is cutting efforts at cardiovascular medicine and plans to either spinoff or license its cancer treatment assets.

"Operationally, the company will consolidate its sites. The company's site in San Diego will be closed, and the company's sites in eastern Massachusetts will be consolidated into existing facilities in Cambridge and Weston," the company said.

Biogen expects to have annual savings of about $300 million after the restructuring, which will lead to charges of about $115 million.

"Biogen Idec will be better off as a result of these actions,” said George Scangos, who recently took over as chief executive officer at Biogen.

“First, we will have increased focus. We have been operating in too many therapeutic areas and haven't maximized our opportunities. We will now focus on a few areas where we can be among the best, and this starts with neurology. We have excellent R&D and commercial capabilities in neurology, and we will build from that strength,” he added.

“We also have expertise and some excellent programs in hemophilia and immunology and will pursue select projects in those therapeutic areas as well. We will leverage our strengths in biologics manufacturing to bring forward our own projects as well as aggressively in-license projects in our target areas.

“Second, as a result of these actions, Biogen Idec will be leaner, more nimble and more decisive,” Scangos explained. “Importantly, the initiatives announced today will save more than $300 million annually and will position Biogen Idec to accomplish great things in the future."


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