French staff cuts but Sanofi committed to $800m biomanufacturing plans

Sanofi will cut 750 jobs in France but says it remains committed to biologic and vaccine manufacturing investments totaling €700 million ($800 million) in the country.

With civil unrest breaking out on the streets of Paris as members of the so-called ‘Gilets Jaunes’ demand everything from lower taxes to better job security, France’s largest biopharma firm Sanofi has revealed plans to reduce its domestic workforce by 750, and scrap plans to recruit a further 250 staff.

“Sanofi in France informed employees’ representatives of the launch of negotiations about a collective contractual termination program (RCC), affecting global support functions and some global entities based in France,” spokesperson Jean-Baptiste Froville told this publication.

Image:; iStock/Connel_Design

“This is a wholly voluntary scheme that will offer employees of these global support functions and some global entities.”

The firm is aiming for around 750 voluntary departures by the end of 2020, consisting of 670 through the RCC with a further 80 volunteer transfers from the firm’s IT unit.

“We need to respond to new demands and to a changing environment with the relevant skills and as of today, we do not have them all in-house. For instance, we have an increasing need in data protection, artificial intelligence, analytics, automation-related competencies, as well as marketing or biomanufacturing.”

Bio-boost

In fact biomanufacturing will not be affected at all, Froville confirmed, and several multi-hundred million euro projects are still going ahead to support Sanofi’s biologics and vaccine portfolio.

Sanofi, he said, “will keep investing in its industrial sites – €700 million in the next two years – so as to support innovation and strengthen its leader position in France on biotechnologies and bioproduction.”

These projects include the €170 million expansion at the firm’s Val de Reuil plant announced in October 2017, aimed at expanding the supply of its quadrivalent influenza vaccine VaxigripTetra to up to 70 countries in six continents.

In November 2015, as part of a €1.5bn cost-saving plan Sanofi set out a five-year roadmap which included the assessment of its network of 102 sites. The firm said at the time it would continue to expand biologics capacity to support “biopharmaceutical pipelines and growth.”

Leave a Reply