Restructuring

Bristol-Myers outlines a big R&D overhaul covering East, West Coast operations

Giovanni Caforio, Bristol-Myers Squibb CEO

Giovanni Caforio, Bristol-Myers Squibb CEO

Just six weeks after Bristol-Myers Squibb $BMY began a company-wide revamp in the wake of a brutal setback on the immuno-oncology front, the big biotech is back with plans to overhaul its R&D structure, shuttering facilities while adding new ones in New Jersey and Massachusetts.

The Hopewell, NJ site — a sprawling 433-acre campus with more than a million square feet of space — will be closed by 2020, says Bristol-Myers, while the Lake Union Steam Plant site in Seattle will close shop in 2019. Bristol-Myers has already said it will close operations in Wallingford, CT next year, where 800 staffers work, but it’s also decided to scrap plans for growth in the state as well.

Hopewell site

Hopewell, NJ site

Now building plans include: An R&D building at the company’s Lawrenceville, New Jersey campus that will co-locate lab-based Discovery and Translational Medicine activities, construction at its New Brunswick, New Jersey facility to support biologics development, and construction to continue expansion of its biologics campus in Devens, Massachusetts.

“Hopewell has approximately 1,200 BMS employees (laboratory and office based personnel),” the company says in an email message to me. “The company’s new building in Lawrenceville, New Jersey will house approximately 400 scientists and support people, and the company is expanding capacity in other existing buildings in Lawrenceville by modernizing buildings and work space.”

Seattle site

Seattle, WA site

These new locations are intended to steer a larger part of R&D toward the big hubs, a major trend in the industry. There’s no immediate word on how many jobs in total are affected, though Bristol-Myers already noted that it planned to eliminate 100 jobs in Connecticut and relocate hundreds more to other sites — including 500 staffers who were supposed to be given the opportunity to stay in the state.

Wallingford, CT site

Wallingford, CT site

“(W)e are in the process of evaluating the roles and work within all functions based on changes to the needs of our business, our geographic presence and broader decisions in support of our Company Transformation,” a spokesperson tells Endpoints News. “As we mentioned in the release, we expect many of the roles from Connecticut, Hopewell and Seattle will transition to other U.S. locations, with specific details evolving over the next several years.”

The moves come shortly after Bristol-Myers Squibb outlined plans to make itself into a more nimble organization. It’s been lost on few observers that the company has been grappling with a sudden fall from grace on its Opdivo franchise, which suffered a serious setback after its lunge at front-line status was greeted by a Phase III failure, quickly followed by a more strategic success by Merck’s rival team handling Keytruda.

Devens, MA site

Devens, MA site

“These important changes to our U.S. geographic footprint will ensure we have the structural, operational and financial flexibility to deliver as effectively as possible on our mission for patients,” said CEO Giovanni Caforio. “Today’s announcement underscores our commitment to make the right investments to continue to deliver on the promise of our pipeline and to bring transformational medicines to patients, today and in the future.”


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