Biogen Idec, Inc. announced Sept. 8 it is laying off 140 employees in its San Diego offices, which consist of mostly lab and general administration jobs.
The majority of the employees to be cut will be let go in the next two weeks, said Jose Juves, a spokesman for the Cambridge, Mass.-based company. Job cuts will be finished by the end of the year, he said.
The San Diego reductions account for about 22 percent of the company’s total 650 layoffs in its 11 locations in nine countries. Overall, the company has about 4,000 employees.
Biogen Idec’s San Diego location employs around 500 people and focuses on research for Biogen Idec’s Rituxan, which generated U.S. net sales of $1.57 billion in 2004.
Rituxan is used for treatment of certain B-cell non-Hodgkin’s lymphomas.
The company will use the $200 million to $300 million it will save through the layoffs for business development, including possibly acquiring products or companies and collaborative research with academic institutions.
Biogen Idec also announced plans to focus on a launch of Rituxan for rheumatoid arthritis and a possible return to the market of the controversial drug Tysabri, which the company pulled early this year after only about three months on the market. The company made the decision based on reports of progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy in patients who took Tysabri in clinical trials. It is a rare but fatal disease of the central nervous system.
Biogen Idec announced the job cuts after its shares closed at $42.44, down 3 cents from the previous day’s last trade.