Merck & Co. said Friday it is laying off about 1,800 U.S. sales representatives, or nearly 7% of the drugmaker’s U.S. workforce, in a reorganization the company says will cut costs and shift focus to products with growth potential.
Merck is eliminating three sales teams comprising reps who promote drugs to primary-care doctors, endocrinologists and drugs used in hospitals.
At the same time, Merck said it would create a new “chronic care” sales team of 960 reps who will promote its top-selling drug, diabetes treatment Januvia, plus insomnia medication Belsomra and drugs for respiratory diseases and women’s health. Merck also hopes to begin selling two new diabetes drugs if regulators approve them.
Employees being laid off can apply for the new sales positions or other open jobs at Merck, said spokeswoman Claire Gillespie.
Merck said the changes are “part of ongoing companywide efforts to sharpen Merck’s focus on innovative R&D that addresses significant unmet medical needs and on our best opportunities for growth, while reducing overall costs.”
By Peter Loftus
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Sanofi has ended a long-running alliance with Sangamo Therapeutics to develop genetic medicines for inherited blood disorders, among them an experimental sickle cell disease therapy that is in early clinical testing.
The two have been developing complex, personalized treatments, led by a sickle cell drug known as SAR445136. But Sanofi is now more interested in off-the-shelf approaches, which are meant to be more convenient.