Bristol-Myers to Slash Jobs, Shut Plants

Drugmaker shrinks, says expiring patents will cut profits
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 5, 2007 6:09 PM CST
This undated handout photo provided by Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. shows CEO James M. Cornelius. Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. said Thursday, April 26, 2007 it named interim leader James M. Cornelius as its new...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Bristol-Myers Squibb said today it will lay off 10% of its work force—totaling 4,300 jobs—and close or sell half its 27 factories in a plan to save $1.5 billion by 2010, the Wall Street Journal reports. The firm also will sell its medical-imaging division and possibly its wound-care and nutritional-supplements businesses as it focuses on drugmaking, its strongest suit.

Bristol-Myers is facing a so-called "patent cliff" as drugs for which it has market exclusivity become fair game for generic brands. "We don't have a complete answer to how to offset or mitigate that cliff," one executive said. Bristol is the latest drug company to downsize, after Pfizer and Merck, as the firms attempt to remain profitable in a changing industry.