Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Abbott - job cuts in R&D as well as sales

Abbott Laboratories says it will cut about 200 drug research jobs and several hundred pharmaceutical sales representatives as part of ongoing reorganization.

The majority of the 200 scientists and researchers to be cut will come from the company's offices in northern Illinois, Abbott spokesman Scott Stoffel said Monday night. The bulk will come from a research unit that deals with the early discovery of treatments for metabolic disorders such as obesity and diabetes, he said.

"We reshaped our pharmaceutical discovery strategy, or group, to concentrate on fewer specific diseases," Stoffel said.

Stoffel said the positions aren't being cut all at once and employees will leave Abbott on different dates depending on their work. He could not provide a more specific time frame for the cuts.

Abbott has about 7,000 scientists on its global staff of 65,000, according to the Chicago Tribune, which reported the cuts on its web site Monday. The company spent more than $2 billion on research and development in 2006.

In addition to the research job reductions, several hundred sales reps also will be cut in a move related to Abbott's acquisition of Kos Pharmaceuticals and designed to eliminate duplication in the sales force.

Stoffel said cuts will be made at both companies, but said Abbott isn't providing a breakdown of just how many would come from each.