Eli Lil­ly slash­es R&D jobs, shut­ters 2 re­search sites as it looks to cut 3,500 staffers world­wide

Eli Lil­ly $LLY is slash­ing 3,500 jobs out of the com­pa­ny as it looks to stream­line op­er­a­tions in the wake of Dave Ricks’ move to the helm at the be­gin­ning of this year.

The de­tails are just start­ing to emerge, but the In­di­anapo­lis-based phar­ma gi­ant is mak­ing some deep cuts in R&D, even as Lil­ly vows to keep the fo­cus on new drug de­vel­op­ment.

Lil­ly is clos­ing an R&D group in Bridge­wa­ter, NJ and shut­ter­ing the Lil­ly Chi­na Re­search and De­vel­op­ment Cen­ter in Shang­hai, mark­ing an­oth­er re­treat in Asia as big phar­ma steps back from some longterm com­mit­ments in the re­gion.

There’s no word on how many jobs are be­ing axed in this par­tic­u­lar move, though the Shang­hai cen­ter em­ployed a staff of 150 — with a large con­cen­tra­tion of sci­en­tists — when it for­mal­ly opened 5 years ago.

Ac­cord­ing to their state­ment, Lil­ly says that the bulk of the cuts — which add up to about 9% of its 42,000 to­tal — should be ac­com­mo­dat­ed through an ear­ly re­tire­ment plan, with lay­offs added from oth­er moves to cut back on fixed ex­pens­es. And the com­pa­ny says it plans to “con­sol­i­date” work in some ser­vice cen­ters, though there are no specifics on how that could play out.

Added Lil­ly:

The com­pa­ny will move pro­duc­tion from its an­i­mal health man­u­fac­tur­ing fa­cil­i­ty in Larch­wood, Iowa, to an ex­ist­ing plant in Fort Dodge, Iowa, and con­tin­ue pro­duc­tiv­i­ty im­prove­ment ef­forts around the world.

These job cuts will save $500 mil­lion in an­nu­al ex­pens­es, Ricks es­ti­mates.

Chi­na has been the fo­cus of sev­er­al re­cent big phar­ma moves to pull back in R&D, end­ing ini­tia­tives launched sev­er­al years ago. No­var­tis has re­treat­ed from Asia, and GSK re­cent­ly ex­e­cut­ed its own re­or­ga­ni­za­tion in Chi­na.

This is al­so not Ricks’ first turn with the ax. Ear­ly this year, just weeks af­ter the com­pa­ny an­nounced plans to lay off 485 staffers that had been in­volved in the failed solanezum­ab pro­gram, the com­pa­ny spread word that it was look­ing for 200 re­searchers to take a “vol­un­tary ex­it.”

“We have an abun­dance of op­por­tu­ni­ties—eight med­i­cines launched in the past four years and the po­ten­tial for two more by the end of next year,” said Ricks in a pre­pared state­ment. “To ful­ly re­al­ize these op­por­tu­ni­ties and in­vest in the next gen­er­a­tion of new med­i­cines, we are tak­ing ac­tion to stream­line our or­ga­ni­za­tion and re­duce our fixed costs around the world.”

Im­age: The Eli Lil­ly and Co cor­po­rate head­quar­ters in In­di­anapo­lis ear­li­er this year AP Pho­to/Dar­ron Cum­mings

Aerial view of Genentech's campus in South San Francisco [Credit: Getty]

Genen­tech sub­mits a plan to near­ly dou­ble its South San Fran­cis­co foot­print

The sign is still there, a quaint reminder of whitewashed concrete not 5 miles from Genentech’s sprawling, chrome-and-glass campus: South Francisco The Industrial City. 

The city keeps the old sign, first erected in 1923, as a tourist site and a kind of civic memento to the days it packed meat, milled lumber and burned enough steel to earn the moniker “Smokestack of the Peninsula.” But the real indication of where you are and how much has changed both in San Francisco and in the global economy since a couple researchers and investors rented out an empty warehouse 40 years ago comes in a far smaller blue sign, resembling a Rotary Club post, off the highway: South San Francisco, The Birthplace of Biotech.

As Nas­daq en­rolls the fi­nal batch of 2019 IPOs, how have the num­bers com­pared to past years?

IGM Biosciences’ upsized IPO haul, coming after SpringWorks’ sizable public debut, has revved up some momentum for the last rush of biotech IPOs in 2019.

With 39 new listings on the books and roughly two more months to go before winding down, Nasdaq’s head of healthcare listings Jordan Saxe sees the exchange marking 50 to 60 biopharma IPOs for the year.

“December 15 is usually the last possible day that companies will price,” he said, as companies get ready for business talks at the annual JP Morgan Healthcare Conference in January.

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A fa­vorite in Alex­ion’s C-suite is leav­ing, and some mighty sur­prised an­a­lysts aren’t the least bit hap­py about it

Analysts hate to lose a biotech CFO they’ve come to trust and admire — especially if they’re being blindsided by a surprise exit.

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David Grainger [file photo]

'Dis­con­nect the bas­tard­s' — one biotech's plan to break can­cer cell­s' uni­fied de­fens­es

Chemotherapy and radiotherapy are the current gladiators of cancer treatment, but they come with well-known limitations and side-effects. The emergence of immunotherapy — a ferocious new titan in oncologist’s toolbox — takes the brakes off the immune system to kill cancer cells with remarkable success in some cases, but the approach is not always effective. What makes certain forms of cancer so resilient? Scientists may have finally pieced together a tantalizing piece of the puzzle, and a new biotech is banking on a new approach to fill the gap.

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While No­var­tis ban­ish­es Zol­gens­ma scan­dal scars — Bio­gen goes on a Spin­raza 'of­fen­sive'

While Novartis painstakingly works to mop up the stench of the data manipulation scandal associated with its expensive gene therapy for spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) Zolgensma— rival Biogen is attempting to expand the use of its SMA therapy, Spinraza. 

The US drugmaker $BIIB secured US approval for Spinraza for use in the often fatal genetic disease in 2016. The approval covered a broad range of patients with infantile-onset (most likely to develop Type 1) SMA. 

Jason Kelly. Mike Blake/Reuters via Adobe

Eye­ing big ther­a­peu­tic push, Gink­go bags $290M to build a cell pro­gram­ming em­pire

Ginkgo Bioworks is on a roll. Days after publicizing a plan to nurture new startups via partnerships with accelerators Y Combinator and Petri, the Boston biotech says it has raised another $290 million for its cell programming platform to reach further and wider.

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UP­DAT­ED: Speak­er Nan­cy Pelosi to un­veil bill for fed­er­al­ly ne­go­ti­at­ed drug prices

After months of buzz from both sides of the aisle, Speaker Nancy Pelosi will today introduce her plan to allow the federal government to negotiate prices for 250 prescription drugs, setting up a showdown with a pharmaceutical industry working overtime to prevent it.

The need to limit drug prices is a rare point of agreement between President Trump and Democrats, although the president has yet to comment on the proposal and will likely face pressure to back a more conservative option or no bill at all. Republican Senator Chuck Grassley is reportedly lobbying his fellow party members on a more modest proposal he negotiated with Democratic Senator Ron Wyden in July.

Jeff Kindler's Cen­trex­ion re­news bid to make pub­lic de­but

Jeffrey Kindler’s plan to take his biotech — which is developing a slate of non-opioid painkillers — public, is back on.

The Boston based company, led by former Pfizer $PFE chief Kindler, originally contemplated a $70 million to $80 million IPO last year— but eventually postponed that strategy. On Wednesday, the company revived its bid to make a public debut in a filing with the SEC — although no pricing details were disclosed.

Zachary Hornby. Boundless

'A fourth rev­o­lu­tion in can­cer ther­a­pies': ARCH-backed Bound­less Bio flash­es big check, makes big­ger promis­es in de­but

It was the cellular equivalent of opening your car door and finding an active, roaring engine in the driver seat.

Scientists learned strands of DNA could occasionally appear outside of its traditional home in the nucleus in the 1970s, when they appeared as little, innocuous circles on microscopes; inexplicable but apparently innate. But not until UC San Diego’s Paul Mischel published his first study in Science in 2014 did researchers realize these circles were not only active but potentially overactive and driving some cancer tumors’ superhuman growth.