Sector News

Shire orders 500-plus staffers to move to Boston-area biotech ‘Mecca’

November 20, 2014
Life sciences
Shire is following the biopharma trend of ditching far-flung outposts in favor of a centralized hub, shifting workers from its former U.S. headquarters in Pennsylvania to its Boston-area home base in a move the company believes will better align its sprawling business.
 
Next year, Shire will start moving about 500 employees from its outpost in Chesterbrook, PA, to its new headquarters in Lexington, MA, bringing workers from its R&D, commercial and business-enabling operations under one roof. Shire plans to complete the process by early 2016, retaining some staff at the Pennsylvania site, which currently employs about 970 people. The company said it expects there will be some layoffs tied to the move but hasn’t determined just how many, saying only that it expects to save $25 million a year starting in 2016.
 
The effort is a continuation of the drugmaker’s “One Shire” effort, through which the acquisitive company is working to pare down its global reach into two principal locations, in Massachusetts and Switzerland. CEO Flemming Ornskov, who already works out of Lexington, has long preached the virtues of integration, leading the charge to marry Shire’s then-disparate R&D operations upon taking the reins in 2013.
 
In setting sights on Massachusetts, Shire joins a growing list of drug developers allured by the state’s booming life sciences cluster, with top-tier research institutions, forward-thinking startups and Big Pharma recon units all packed in by the bay. For Shire, a serial buyout artist with plans to further grow its pipeline, that’s an ideal climate, Ornskov told The Boston Globe.
 
“As we’ve evolved, we’re becoming more biotechy in our approach,” Ornskov said. “We think that being in the cluster of the Greater Boston area will help us. What has happened over the past decade is this has become the Mecca for life sciences in the U.S.”
 
The move is Shire’s first major announcement since AbbVie’s ($ABBV) plot to buy the company for $55 billion fell apart last month, giving the Irish drugmaker a new lease on freedom and a $1.6 billion breakup fee for its trouble. Now Ornskov, who has already presided over 6 acquisitions in his brief tenure, is hinting at more deals to come, pointing to Shire’s $4.5 billion deal for ViroPharma last year as a template for the future.
 
By Damian Garde
 

comments closed

Related News

October 2, 2022

GSK names Julie Brown, a 25-year AstraZeneca veteran, its first woman CFO

Life sciences

Five years ago, GSK made headlines when it hired Emma Walmsley to become the first woman to run a major pharmaceutical company. Now the Big Pharma has brought in another woman to control the company’s finances. Julie Brown will be GSK’s next chief financial officer. Brown, currently the chief operating and financial officer at fashion and beauty brand Burberry Group, is set to replace Iain Mackay.

October 2, 2022

Moderna creates new launch preparation role, poaches Novartis exec as manufacturing lead

Life sciences

Moderna created a new role responsible for “building out the company’s organization to support its growing pipeline.” Starting first thing 2023, Juan Andres, Moderna’s manufacturing head, will step into this new role under the title president of strategic partnerships and enterprise expansion, the company said Thursday.

October 2, 2022

Torrent Pharma to acquire Curatio for $245.16m

Life sciences

The latest takeover is anticipated to boost the presence of Torrent in the dermatology segment. Indian company Torrent Pharmaceuticals has signed a definitive agreement for the complete acquisition of Curatio Healthcare for $245.16m (Rs20bn).