Bayer restructures factor VIII manufacturing, cuts 17% of jobs at Cali site

Bayer will axe 227 jobs at its Berkeley, California site as it looks to restructure its recombinant factor VIII manufacturing network. The news comes weeks after its hemophilia treatment Jivi received US approval.

Recombinant factor VIII protein (rFVIII) is used for the treatment of hemophilia A and employs genetically modified cells in its production. Bayer’s plant in Berkeley, California, is responsible for producing all three of its rFVIII therapies, including Jivi, a pegylated, long‐acting plasma/albumin free, full‐length rFVIII. The product was recently approved in the US and Japan.

“Berkeley has been Bayer’s biotechnology manufacturing hub for more than 40 years, serving hemophilia patients in nearly 80 countries around the world,” Bayer spokesperson Chantel Mandel told BioProcess Insider.

Bayer is restructuring its factor VIII manufacturing network, including cutting jobs in California. Image: iStock/Dr_Microbe

But despite this, the German firm is moving forward with plans to reduce manufacturing and cut 227 jobs, representing 17% of the workforce at the site.

“The organizational changes in Berkeley are primarily driven by the need to enable manufacturing efficiencies at this site that are necessary to remain competitive,” Mandel continued, adding there are no plans to stop production or shutter the facility.

Bayer committed $100 million to Berkeley in 2015, to build a product testing facility for the next generation of treatments for patients with hemophilia A.

“Bayer is passionate about research and investing in developing the next-generation of therapies and solutions including gene therapy and anti-TFPI therapy to help people with hemophilia A thrive both now and in the future,” said Mandel.

“This decision will not impact product availability as we remain committed to providing a portfolio of treatment options to serve the individual needs of the hemophilia community.”

The restructure plans comes four years after Bayer pledged to invest over €500 million ($575 million) to establish additional capacity for the manufacturing of its recombinant factor VIII hemophilia pipeline at its sites in Leverkusen and Wuppertal, both in Germany.

At the time, approved hemophilia A therapy product Kogenate was being manufactured exclusively at the Berkeley site, and so Bayer looked to Germany as an additional supply.

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