Reasons behind the recent mass layoffs in biotech

River D'Almeida, Ph.D
4 min readAug 31, 2023

The industry faces uncertain times ahead due to regulatory changes and challenges

Photo by National Cancer Institute on Unsplash

Questions Industry Must Address:

  • Industry needs to answer questions about a drug’s superiority, pricing, and value.
  • Companies should rethink their approach to product development and pricing.
  • Economic and clinical value must be demonstrated to various stakeholders.

Over 115 biotechnology companies have announced job cuts this year, which is likely to surpass the number from last year. This trend of layoffs is not new, but it’s concerning because it suggests tougher times ahead for the pharmaceutical industry, which is already going through significant changes. This situation should serve as a strong signal to pharmaceutical executives that they need to change the way they do business, and they need to do it urgently.

In the past 20 years, the biopharmaceutical field has seen many job losses, and it seems like these job cuts will happen even faster now. One example is Biogen, a company planning to let go of about 1,000 employees, which is about 11% of their workforce, over the next few years. This is part of their “Fit for Growth” program. The CEO of Biogen, Christopher A. Viehbacher, said that they’re making these changes to focus more on areas that create the most value for their business.

Biogen is not the only company facing these challenges. Other leading pharmaceutical companies are also making similar changes to their business strategies to reduce costs and save money. These changes are mostly a response to ongoing economic pressures, along with big changes in how the industry competes, what the market expects, and the rules set by regulators. All of these disruptions are making companies rethink how they’ve been doing things for a long time.

The aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic has made things even harder. One big change is that health systems are now making decisions about which drugs to buy in a more centralized way, trying to manage costs as the money they get back from insurance companies gets smaller. This means that doctors don’t have as much say in these decisions as they used to. The old method of having salespeople meet with doctors is also not working as well as…

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River D'Almeida, Ph.D

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