Bristol-Myers Squibb to restructure, cut work force by 10 percent

NEW YORK Bristol-Myers Squibb has announced a major overhaul that will eliminate about half of its 27 manufacturing sites worldwide and cut its work force of 43,000 employees by more than 10 percent, according to the nytimes.com.

The company said it would shed its medical imaging division based in North Billerica, Mass., and was reviewing “strategic alternatives” for two other large nonpharmaceutical operations. 

Those include its baby formula business Mead Johnson Nutritionals, based in Evansville, Ind., and its ConvaTec products business, based in Skillman, N.J. ConvaTec specializes in products for wound care and ostomies—surgical openings in the abdomen to eliminate bodily wastes. The company plans on moving its focus to specialty drugs.

In a move begun by his predecessor, Peter Dolan, the current chief executive, James Cornelius, is shifting Bristol-Myers away from reliance on its blood-thinner Plavix, which loses patent protection in 2011, to an array of specialty treatments, including the specialty drugs Erbitux for cancer, Sustiva for HIV and Abilify for psychiatric disorders, as well as cardiac and metabolic treatments.

The company did not say exactly where the layoffs would occur, but did note that 1,300 employees at various locations had already been notified. Most of the jobs are in back-office operations, human resources, information technology and finance, the company said.

By the end of next year, the company expects to cut an additional 3,500 jobs—which would be in addition to any employees who leave Bristol-Myers as a result of the spin-off or sale of operations.

In a separate announcement on Tuesday, the company said it was closing a plant in Colon, Panama, where products are packaged.

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