Takeda chops into Ariad staff, handing out about 180 pink slips as it revamps Boston ops

Christophe Weber, president and chief executive officer of Takeda Pharmaceutical Co., speaks during the 18th Nikkei Global Management Forum in Tokyo, Japan  (CREDIT: Tomohiro Ohsumi/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Takeda started the year with a $5.2 billion buyout of Ariad, paying out a huge 74% premium to do a deal that raised more than a few eyebrows in the industry. And now it’s chopping up the company it bought in search of the efficiencies it needs to make the numbers work.

Takeda’s big Boston hub, which Takeda CEO Christophe Weber has designated as a central axis in its new global structure, is absorbing much of the old Ariad staff. But more than half of the approximately 300 employees at Ariad’s US headquarters are being laid off.

A company spokesperson says that about 180 staffers were laid off at the end of February, with 120 finding jobs in Takeda’s growing Boston ops, where the company has about 2,150 staffers. Of the 180 losing their jobs, about 50 might find new jobs at PRA, Takeda’s CRO, says a Takeda spokesperson for the Boston area. And Takeda will give the remaining staffers top priority on any other jobs that are open in the company globally.

“We took some time to make sure we were making thoughtful strategic decisions,” says the spokesperson.

Ariad had already been downsizing significantly. According to its 10-K for 2015, the company ended the year with 459 staffers, with 135 in Europe. The European staff was cut though, with the work being outsourced.

The Boston Business Journal was the first to report these cuts.

Ariad had been making progress since longtime CEO Harvey Berger was forced out in the spring of 2015, a move triggered by a brewing shareholder revolt that broke out after Iclusig was briefly jerked out of the market and then allowed back on with a more limited reach. The company finished its rolling submission for brigatinib last summer, looking to get an OK to sell the ALK inhibitor to patients who no longer respond to Pfizer’s Xalkori.

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