Trump, Once Again, Falsely Takes Credit for New US Job Creation

Posted in BioBusiness, Career Advice

As  you may recall, one of Trumps major campaign messages to his followers was to”force corporate America to focus on job creation at home rather than abroad.”  In my opinion, Trump’s possible success as President is and will continue to be inextricably linked to fulfilling his promise to create new jobs for out-of-work or underemployed Americans. That said, Trump will do or say anything, including taking false credit, to show his supporters that he can indeed create US jobs.

Yesterday, Trump announced:

I was just called by the head people at Sprint, and they are going to be bringing 5,000 jobs back to the United States,” Mr. Trump told reporters at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida. “They have taken them from other countries. They are bringing them back to the United States.”

Later in the day, Sprint said that the jobs were part of a previously announced commitment by Japan’s Soft Bank, which owns a controlling interest in Sprint, to invest $50 billion in the US and create 50,000 new jobs. As you may recall, shortly after electoral college win, Trump met with Masayoshi Sun, the CEO of Softbank who made the announcement and quickly took credit for the announced investment. Interestingly, the investment and job creation plans predated the election. Put simply, the deal was forged long before Trump got involved.

Not withstanding Trump’s penchant for mendacity, it is important to note that since the election, Sprint stock price has risen by 40%, partly on the hopes that it will be acquired by its rival cellphone carrier T-Mobile. While the Obama administration frowned upon telecom mergers because of anti-trust concerns, Sun and his investors believe that the Trump administration may look more favorably on any potential deals with T-mobile or other players in this sector.

Moreover, last January, as part of a restructuring effort, Sprint cut 2,500 jobs in call centers throughout the US and its corporate headquarters. This means that there will be a net gain of only 2,500 new Sprint jobs in the US if the announced positions are ever created or filled (supposedly by the end of fiscal year 2017). In any event, if a merger ultimately does take place between Sprint and T-Mobile, there are likely to be massive job cuts which typically occur after most mergers to reduce duplication of effort at both the technical and administrative levels.

Sadly, it is becoming increasingly evident that Trump is willing to lie or take credit for deals that have little or nothing to do with him when it comes to job creation (or anything else for that matter).  To that point, be wary of anything Trump says or does when it comes to job creation during his administration.  When the smoke clears and mirrors are removed, any announced job “deals”are likely to be in the best interests of corporate America; not hard-working or job-seeking Americans.

Until next time….

Good Luck and Good Job Hunting!!!!!!

The Impact of Pharma Downsizing on Manufacturing Plant Closures

Posted in BioBusiness

The Pharmalot blog today reported that pharma and biotech downsizing, restructuring and outsourcing have resulted in 38 manufacturing facilities in 2011. While this may not sound like a lot given the ongoing tough economy, the post reports that 65 facilities were closed in 2010. According to some estimates, these closures have resulted in the loss of roughly 18,000 life sciences manufacturing jobs in the past two years. Sadly, pharmaceutical manufacturing, like almost all other manufacturing jobs in the US are being lost at an unprecedented rate. Further, many of these manufacturing jobs are being outsourced to multinational CMOs or to manufacturing facilities being built by pharma companies in emerging markets like Latin America, Eastern Europe and Asia.

Not surprisingly, most of the 2011 closures were in the Northeast (8) resulting in the loss of roughly 1,400 jobs. And, not surprisingly again, one of the hardest hit states was New Jersey; home to almost all of the major pharmaceutical companies in the world. The next region that was hit hard is the Mid-Atlantic (7) with notable closures in Maryland (Shire Pharmaceuticals) and North Carolina (DSM Pharmaceutical Products).

Interestingly, while plant closures are on the rise, there is new manufacturing facility construction that may help to offset the losses. However, unlike the past, many of the new facilities are being financed by academic institutions and not-for-profits rather than life sciences companies. According to the post, roughly 106 new North American (not only the US) are underway and represent an investment value of $4.3 billion. The new Shire facility being constructed in Lexington, MA and the International Vaccine Center (InterVac) in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan were cited as examples.

Despite the constructions of several new manufacturing facilities in North America, it is obvious that most major life sciences companies are looking South and East for future pharmaceutical and biomanufacturing capabilities. The bottom line is that labor and the cost of goods are cheaper in these markets and in contrast with the past, there are skilled workforces in place to manufacture life sciences products according to American, European and Japanese Current Good Manufacturing Practices. 

Until next time…

Good Luck and Good Job Hunting!!!!!!!!


Big Pharma Merger-Mania Continues at a Brisk Pace

Posted in BioBusiness

I am certain that many of you may have noticed that the size of the life sciences industry is shrinking at an unprecedented rate. Big pharma companies flush with cash, near- empty pipelines and impending patent cliffs have embarked on a buying spree that is likely to continue for next years (or at least until the economy shows clear signs of resuscitation). Pfizer’s impending acquisition of King Pharmaceuticals is just another transaction in a long list of M&A deals that have occurred over the past three years.                             

According to an article in today’s NY Times, roughly $42.2 billion worth of pharma deals have been transacted so far this year. That number is close to the $45.8 billion in M&A transactions announced by the same time last year (excluding Pfizer’s acquisition of Wyeth and Merck’s purchase of Schering Plough). Unfortunately, these mega-merger deals almost always result in massive layoffs in the industry.

While blockbuster mergers may not be good for pharmaceutical employees, the behind the scenes players—investment bankers, brokers, advisers and consultants—make out extremely well. For example, according to an article in Pharmaceutical Technology Europe, over a three month period in 2009 pharmaceutical company merger and acquisition activities generated $500 million in advisory fees for investment bankers. Clearly, mergers and acquisitions are in the best interest of company executives and the investment bankers not pharmaceutical employees.

There is no question that the recession and the down economy are driving much of the M&A activity in the life sciences sector. And, industry consolation is to be expected during challenging economic times. However, while M&A may be in the best interest of pharma company shareholders in the short term, I don’t think it will help to insure American competitiveness and innovation in the life sciences over the long term. 

Until next time…

Good Luck and Good Job Hunting

Even More Consolidation in the Pharmaceutical Industry

Posted in BioJobBuzz

The Belgian chemical manufacturer Solvay announced today that it had agreed to sell its pharmaceutical business unit to Abbott Pharmaceuticals for $6.6 billion. By purchasing Solvay, Abbott gains access to emerging markets in Eastern Europe and Asia along with new therapeutic areas, including hormone therapies and vaccines. Solvay’s flu vaccine Influvac will give Abbott an entrant in the burgeoning vaccines market, which is currently dominated by European pharmaceutical giants like GlaxoSmithKline and Novartis.

Abbott already holds U.S. marketing rights for Solvay’s Trilipix and TriCor, drugs which raise "good" HDL cholesterol while reducing triglycerides and "bad" LDL cholesterol.

Solvay’s other top-selling drugs include the Parkinson’s disease treatment Duodopa and hormone therapy drugs AndroGel and Duphaston. It is not clear whether or not the Solvay purchase will affect ongoing pharmaceutical operations or staffing decision in the US. However, I suspect that there will be management changes and layoffs in Europe.

In other news, Johnson & Johnson bought an 18 percent stake in Dutch biotechnology company Crucell NV, which is trying to develop a universal flu vaccine, while competitor Merck acquired the rights to sell Australia-based CSL Ltd.’s Afluria flu vaccine in the U.S.

The Solvay deal is the latest in a string of mergers and acquisitions, as cash-rich pharmaceutical companies race to acquire new products amid looming patent expiry on blockbuster drugs. Earlier this year Swiss drugmaker Roche acquired Genentech following similar deals uniting Pfizer Inc. and Wyeth, and Merck & Co. Inc. with Schering-Plough.

Expect more M&A activity in the life sciences sector before year’s end.

Until next time…

Good Luck and Good Job Hunting!!!!!!!!

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European Pharma Goes on a Biologics Buying Spree

Posted in Career Advice

Earlier this week, Roche announced that it wanted to buy the remaining portion of Genentech that it doesn’t already own. On Friday, one of Europe’s largest pharmaceutical companies, Sanofi-Aventis, announced that it was buying the UK-based vaccine manufacturer Acambis for $547 billion.

Like Roche and Genentech, Sanofi-Aventis was already partnered with Acambis and by purchasing Acambis, Sanofi gains a smallpox vaccine that was contracted by the US government for $425 million. Sanofi is the world’s largest manufacturer of influenza vaccines and last month announced plans to open a $157 million manufacturing facility in France, citing projections that demand for vaccines will double by 2016. In case you didn’t know, vaccines, once the scourge of the pharmaceutical industry, are now the hottest”pharmaceutical” products on the market!

Because of growing demand and lucrative margins for biologics and biotechnology products, many big pharma companies are attempting (through acquisitions and mergers) to quickly enter the biologics and biotechnology markets. These days, small molecules are passé and biotech is the next big thing (where have all the pharma execs been for the past 20 years).  

Europe has long wanted to dominate the biotechnology market. This has not been possible because of the US’s large lead in the space. However, all this can change because of a weak dollar and a surging Euro! Rather than attempt to create their own biotechnology companies, large cash-rich, European pharma companies can simply buy profitable US biotechnology companies with strong product pipelines.

I suspect that the weak dollar and failing US economy contributed to Roche’s decision to buy Genentech and Teva to buy Barr Pharmaceuticals last week. I would not be surprised if there are more acquisitions of American biotechnology and pharma companies in the very near future. I think that it may be time for Amgen and Bristol-Myers Squibb employees to begin to brush up on their French or German.

Until next time….

Good Luck and Good Job Hunting (in Europe)!!!!!!!!