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March 1, 2018

Daiichi Sankyo Eliminates 280 U.S. Jobs

Daiichi Sankyo U.S. headquarters in Basking Ridge, N.J. The company plans to eliminate 280 jobs in a restructuring of its U.S. commercial operations.

  • Daiichi Sankyo is eliminating approximately 280 U.S. jobs in a restructuring it said will better align its U.S. commercial operations with its current portfolio of marketed drugs and pipeline of cancer treatments.

    The 280 to be laid off are based at various locations in the U.S. The company bases its U.S. corporate headquarters in Basking Ridge, N.J., with two Daiichi Sankyo-owned companies also based stateside—Luitpold Pharmaceuticals, a Shirley, NY, manufacturer and marketer of pharmaceuticals for animals, and Plexxikon, a Berkeley, CA, company focused on research of prescription drugs.

    “While the decision to reduce our workforce is a very difficult one, the changes are necessary to position us for long-term success,” Ken Keller, president, administrative and commercial, Daiichi Sankyo, said in a statement yesterday. “Our priorities are to bring spending in line with revenue, shift resources to maximize Injectafer® and our abuse-deterrent pain treatments, and prepare for exciting potential new treatments for patients with cancer being developed by our R&D organization.”

    In its most recent annual report, released in November, Daiichi Sankyo committed itself to “accelerate Injectafer growth” as well as strengthen its leading position in the IV iron market with Injectafer and another treatment, Venofer® (iron sucrose injection, USP).

    The company noted that the two treatments commanded a combined 75.1% share of the U.S. iron injection market, which it said was $762.2 million as of February 2017, citing QuintilesIMS data, with Injectafer holding a 30.9% share. Injectafer generated $155 million in the company’s 2015 fiscal year (ending March 31, 2016), and $221 million in FY 2016 (ending March 31, 2017), with a goal for the current 2017 fiscal year ending March 31 of $300 million in revenue.

    Luitpold has partnered with Vifor and Zeria to market Injectafer (ferric carboxymaltose injection), an iron replacement product indicated for iron deficiency anemia in adults who have intolerance to oral iron or have had unsatisfactory response to oral iron, as well as adults who have nondialysis-dependent chronic kidney disease.

    Daiichi Sankyo has also committed to launching several oncology drugs currently in late-stage development, as well as evaluating opportunities to build its pipeline by acquiring cancer treatments from other companies: “Through the acceleration of oncology research and development, we aim to grow oncology business revenue to more than ¥40.0 billion [$373.2 million] in fiscal 2020 and ¥300.0 billion [$2.8 billion] in fiscal 2025, when this business will function as a core business.”

    Daiichi Sankyo said it will offer outplacement services, severance, and other support to all directly affected employees.

    The latest layoffs come two years after Daiichi Sankyo consolidated its R&D and commercial operations in Basking Ridge, where it said 650 to 700 employees would be based following job cuts that included the elimination of 1000 to 1200 positions, one-third of its U.S. workforce at the time, and a shift of remaining commercial employees from Parsippany, NJ and R&D staffers from Edison, NJ.

    Outside the U.S., Daiichi Sankyo has also eliminated jobs and shuttered operations. The company in January 2017 closed its R&D division in Guragon, India, near New Delhi, and terminated the contracts of all 170 employees. A month later, Daiichi Sankyo closed its Japanese research subsidiary Asubio Pharma, but added that it would retain Asubio’s approximately 150 employees by shifting them and their work to other entities in Japan.

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