Novo Nordisk confirmed it will eliminate 250 U.S. jobs in business functions—the company’s second set of workforce reductions worldwide in as many weeks.

Of the planned job cuts, 100 are back-office positions based at Novo Nordisk’s U.S. headquarters in Princeton, NJ, while the other 150 are diabetes treatment support positions.

The 250 job cuts come 10 days after Novo Nordisk said it will eliminate 400 R&D employees in its headquarters country of Denmark and China last week.

The combined 650 jobs represent 1.5% of the 42,682 employees in 79 countries that Novo Nordisk said it employed at the end of last year, according to its Annual Report 2017.

“[Novo Nordisk] is ensuring the company is positioned to achieve long-term, sustainable growth in the face of pricing and competitive pressures in the US.  Equally important is our need to invest in our current and future portfolio that will continue bringing innovation to patients,” the company said in a statement to GEN and other news organizations.

Novo Nordisk cited pressure to contain prices as insurers increasingly balk at covering costly new treatments when it eliminated 1,000 jobs worldwide in 2016.  

However, in a report in the Danish news outlet MedWatch, Novo Nordisk added that the U.S. job reductions “are taking place in order to put resources in the rollout of Ozempic® (semaglutide injection) in the U.S. and later oral semaglutide.”

Ozempic is a once-weekly glucagon-like peptide (GLP-1) receptor agonist indicated as an adjunct to diet and exercise to improve glycemic control in adults with type 2 diabetes. Ozempic was launched in the U.S. in February, along with another injection diabetes treatment, Fiasp® (insulin aspart injection) 100 Units/mL.

Oral semaglutide showed positive Phase III data this past summer in four of 10 Phase IIIa trials, Novo Nordisk reported earlier this year, namely statistically significant reductions in both HbA1c and weight for oral semaglutide compared to Boehringer Ingelheim/Elil Lilly’s Jardiance® (empagliflozin), Merck & Co.’s Januvia® (sitagliptin), and Novo Nordisk’s Victoza® (liraglutide).

“As part of our planning process, we have been assessing resource needs against our business priorities. This is resulting in changes in the U.S. organization, including a loss of jobs,” Novo Nordisk added.

The company informed employees of the job cuts yesterday, and is set to carry out the reductions October 1 and October 18, Novo Nordisk spokesman Ken Inchausti told GEN.

“We regret that valued employees who have made significant contributions will be leaving the organization,” Novo Nordisk stated. “We are committed to ensuring that everyone will be treated with the utmost respect. Support and resources will be made available throughout this process and those affected will be given an opportunity to apply for open positions prior to leaving the organization.”

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