Eli Lilly plans to eliminate 200 R&D positions worldwide through a “voluntary reallocation program” that the pharma giant said will affect less than 3% of its global R&D workforce.
“Lilly is focusing its investment in new R&D capabilities to ensure portfolio sustainability,” the pharma giant said in a statement. “We plan to increase our investment and hire in strategic areas, including molecule-making capabilities, immunology, and Alzheimer's disease, across our U.S. research sites later this year.”
The statement, issued to news outlets since Friday, comes a month after Lilly disclosed that it planned to eliminate the jobs of 485 field-based employees based in its Integrated Health Partners (IHP)/Cardiovascular Account Specialists organization within the company’s U.S. Bio-Medicines Business Unit.
In a January 6 letter to Indiana’s Department of Workforce Development and Indianapolis Mayor Joseph H. Hogsett, Lilly blamed the elimination of the 485 jobs on the failure of its candidate solanezumab in the Phase III EXPEDITION3 clinical trial—which assessed the monoclonal antibody in patients with mild dementia due to Alzheimer's disease—as well as a decision to end the promotion of unspecified medications.
However, Lilly has said publicly in recent days that the new round of 200 R&D layoffs is unrelated to the solanezumab failure.
Just last week, Lilly CEO David Ricks was among biopharma leaders who, along with industry groups, spoke positively about a meeting with President Trump in which he pressed for companies to create more U.S. jobs, repatriate to the U.S. operations that have been shifted to lower-tax countries overseas, as well as reduce drug prices, while expressing his commitment to reducing regulation, including through an FDA overhaul.
“We talked about a number of his policy proposals which, on balance, I think would be very good for us,” Ricks told The Indianapolis Star newspaper following a conference call in which he told analysts: “I was impressed with the president’s appreciation for what our industry is, which is really a crown jewel of American enterprise.”
At the end of 2015, according to its most recent Form 10-K annual report filed last year, Lilly employed approximately 41,275 people, including approximately 23,425 employees outside the U.S. While overall employment rose from 39,135 at the end of 2014, much of that year-over-year job growth took place outside the U.S., where the company based 21,920 employees, the company stated in its Form 10-K for 2014.