Genentech layoffs and pink slips to 436 employees at its headquarters

In March and April 2024, hundreds of employees at biotech and health tech companies were laid off. The biotech giant Genentech is eliminating positions in South San Francisco. These layoffs are permanent.

According to an April 3 WARN letter, Genentech intends to give pink slips to 436 employees at its headquarters in South San Francisco. The cuts are slated to take effect between June 5 and August 7. Dozens of directors are on notice. The layoffs will also affect scientists, administrative assistants, and engineers.

According to a statement, Genentech is making the changes to refocus its efforts on the most promising therapies currently in development. In this article, we will learn more about Genentech’s layoffs.

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About the company

Genentech is a member of the Roche Group. It is a biotechnology company that researches and develops treatments for severe and life-threatening diseases. The company’s innovations include the first targeted antibody for cancer. Also, it found the first treatment for primary progressive multiple sclerosis.

Earlier this year, Swiss company Lonza purchased Genentech’s Vacaville manufacturing site. The changes are part of biotech’s evolving landscape. It focuses on specific medicines for smaller patient populations. Also, it shifts large-scale commercial manufacturing to other sites. The business stated in a prior statement:

“We regularly assess our operations to ensure we remain well-positioned to meet the needs of patients today. Also, we keep on providing innovative new medicines in the future.”

Genentech combined its footprint in 2023

Genentech layoffs

Genentech has laid off hundreds of employees in many waves as part of its reorganization efforts. In the late summer and fall of 2023, the company closed its first biologics plant at its South San Francisco headquarters, laying off 271 people. The company announced further layoffs as the year went on. Thus, it is shifting from a “national strategy” to a more localized operating approach.

The strategic decisions reflect Genentech’s goal of relocating its commercial manufacturing activities across its global network. Also, it focuses on centralizing clinical supply production within its R&D hub in South San Francisco.

Genentech layoffs 2024

Genentech and four other businesses in San Francisco and the North Peninsula are laying off 790 employees. Four of them are ending at least part of their operations.

Although Genentech is not removing any facilities, its wave of layoffs is the most extensive. The South San Francisco-based biotechnology company is laying off 436 employees, as stated in a letter sent to state and local officials in April 2024. According to business spokeswoman Nadine Pinell, this accounts for around three percent of its global workforce. It includes employees not working at its headquarters at 1 DNA Way. Pinell declined to reveal how many people affected by the cuts live in South San Francisco.

According to a statement,

“Genentech is reducing its workforce to focus on the most promising therapies under development. Despite the layoffs, Genentech is still hiring in other areas. Roche, its Swiss-based parent firm, expects its headcount to remain steady this year”.

Also, Genentech stated, “This limited cut will allow us to focus our resources on the areas that we believe can provide the most benefit for patients.”

Susan Stewart is an assistant general counsel in Genentech’s employment law group. On April 3, she wrote in a letter to state and local officials that the business plans to make the cutbacks on four distinct dates: June 5, June 24, July 22, and August 7.

The business intends to lay off two vice presidents, 22 leading scientists, and 18 therapeutic area managers. However, it will keep clinical supply production and research and development facilities at its prominent South San Francisco location.

Conclusion

The biotech industry will face a severe problem in 2024. While there are many successful biotech startups, the sector is also facing huge cutbacks.

Major biotech and pharmaceutical companies are affected, including Amylyx Pharmaceuticals, Novartis, Genentech, and Sanofi. There is a haves-nots dynamic at work. While biotech startups are suffering, established companies are experiencing significant layoffs.

Also, Kenvue, which separated from Johnson & Johnson in 2023, has announced plans to lay off around 4% of its workers. Bristol Myers Squibb has revealed one of the most significant employment reductions of the year thus far. It plans to lay off about 2,200 individuals, or nearly 6% of its workforce.

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