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GSK layoffs hit US neuroscience staff; half of less than 50 jobs lost from RTP

3:06 pm by | 4 Comments

Update: 10:25 a.m.

GlaxoSmithKline (NYSE:GSK) layoffs in its U.S. neurosciences group are affecting less than 50 workers but half of those job cuts are coming from the pharmaceutical company’s U.S. headquarters in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina.

London-based GSK confirmed the layoffs Wednesday. The affected workers were informed on Feb. 14. Initially, GSK declined to specify where the job cuts were happening or disclose how many workers were affected. But the company later disclosed additional details specifying that the layoffs are in the Neurosciences Medicine Center in R&D. Spokeswoman Kathy Pitman said the affected positions are research and development jobs doing late stage clinical trial work. Other neuroscience work, such as sales and marketing, are not affected.

Beyond the cuts in RTP, where GSK employs about 4,000, the layoffs are spread throughout the company’s clinical trial sites in the United States. GSK also maintains a large presence in Philadelphia. No GSK operations outside of the United States were affected by this round of layoffs.

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Pitman said the affected employees work on neuroscience compounds in later stage clinical trials. This round of layoffs comes as the company faces the realization that paring back on earlier stage research leaves the company with fewer compounds that need work further down the pipeline.

“We scaled back on early stage research, which means there’s not as much coming through that needs later stage clinical trials,” Pitman said.

Last year, after GSK released fiscal 2009 results, the company also announced it would “cease discovery research in selected neuroscience areas, including depression and pain.” The announcement accompanied an expansion of GSK’s restructuring program by reducing R&D infrastructure costs in an effort to reach $785 million in savings by 2012. GSK offered no projections of job cuts. After GSK’s announcement,  Reuters reported that the cuts were expected to result in 3,000 lost jobs worldwide. GSK’s U.S. headcount is about 17,500.

The layoffs follow quarterly results that saw GSK take a $1.12 billion loss in the fourth quarter of 2010, which the company attributed primarily to legal costs related to embattled diabetes drug Avandia. The former blockbuster drug is now the focus of thousands of lawsuits alleging it caused or contributed to cardiac events in patients. But the company is also losing sales to generic competitors of herpes drug Valtrex and asthma product Advair. As sales of those former top sellers succumb to rising generic competition, GSK has seen fewer candidates emerge through the pipeline to replace the revenue that those drugs generated.

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By Frank Vinluan

Frank Vinluan is the North Carolina Bureau Chief for MedCity News.
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4 comments
Doug
Doug

I agree with Dawn... shame on you Diana. I have worked in healthcare for the past 20 years and although we are seeing an upswing in the number of families using the ER as their primary medical provider, I have not seen anyone turned away from receiving care.

Dawn
Dawn

Part of the problem is people like Diana who really don't know much arbout the healthcare industry and repeat what they hear on television. I work in a hospital and we do not let people die because they don't have money. We have plenty of people who walk in or are admitted with no insurance. They are not refused treatment or left to die as you suggest in your post. Shame on you for making a comment like this.

Diana
Diana

Pharmaceutical companies are no different than hospitals. Money pay for a person's health. Without money the US is no different than a 3rd world country leaving people to die even when there is a cure. That has become the American outlook on the value of life. Money = Cure...No money/poor = You Die without doctors remembering their Hippocratic Oaths. Yes, The USA is now a 3rd World Country too.

Jon
Jon

What's amazing is that the President and universities are saying health-care and pharmaceutical jobs are great educational investments for our future yet these jobs are just as expendable in a poor economy. Universities should change their deceptive advertising as they are misleading students to believe these jobs are unaffected yet they are no different than any other factory worker or government employee losing their jobs.