Outsourcing, R&D

AstraZeneca chops 210 workers, closes sites as it looks to concentrate biologics manufacturing in one place

AstraZeneca is closing down two manufacturing sites in Colorado that collectively employed 210 workers, in an apparent effort to consolidate its biologics supply chain.

First reported in a WARN notice on Tuesday, the layoffs are “unrelated” to the organizational changes announced a day prior, spokesperson Michele Meixell told me in an email.

The closure of Boulder and Longmont is simply a decision to consolidate the biologics manufacturing network in one large-scale drug substance facility (our site currently operating in Frederick, MD) in order to improve efficiency in our global biologics supply chain.

The major shakeup AstraZeneca unveiled just ahead of the JP Morgan conference involved the recruitment of José Baselga — following his controversial exit from Memorial Sloan Kettering — to head up oncology R&D, which now stands shoulder-to-shoulder with a biopharmaceutical R&D unit led by Mene Pangalos. The commercial operations are also being rejigged into two units to mirror the new structure.

The facilities, purchased from Amgen in 2015 and 2016 respectively, “will be preserved for potential sale, however no further decisions have been made regarding the future of the site,” Meixwell wrote.

As neither Boulder or Longmont are currently licensed for commercial operations — the team there was working on it — she added “there is no need to transfer supply to another manufacturing facility.”

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