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Nov. 12, 2008

Pharma Layoffs
Merck announced layoffs of about 12% of its workforce—6,800 employees and 400 positions to be left vacant—to be complete by 2011 in response to serious revenue shortfall from falling sales, approval delays, and patent expirations. The global restructuring should result in savings of $3.8 billion to $4.2 billion from 2008 to 2013, and comes on the heels of an earlier “restructuring” that laid off over 10,000. 40% of the jobs lost will be in the U.S., and 25% will be among mid- and senior-level executives. Research site in Japan, Italy, and Seattle will be closed by the end of 2009, but the company has offered some members of its molecular profiling group in Seattle relocation positions in Boston.

Merger Approved
Invitrogen and Applied Biosystems’ shareholders have voted to approve the two companies’ $6.7 billion merger. More than 98% of the votes cast were in favor of the merger, and the two companies reported 80% of shares entitled to vote cast ballots. The merger has been approved by U.S. antitrust regulators, but is waiting for approval in the European Union. The merger was first announced in June.

CEO Switch
Affymetrix founder, CEO, and Chairman Stephen Fodor will become executive chairman of the company’s board on January 1, and president Kevin King will become CEO and director. The transfer of responsibilities will take place over the next two months. King was hired in 2007 to take over the role of CEO. In his new role, Fodor will “identify and advance new platform technologies and explore new market opportunities for the company,” said a company statement. Affy’s third-quarter sales figures were down 21% year over year. 


This article appeared in Bio-IT World Magazine.

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