Martin M. Looney

Senate President Pro Tempore

Martin M. Looney

An Advocate for Us

September 12, 2017

Statement of Senate President Looney on Alexion Pharmaceutical’s Global Business Changes

State Senate President Martin M. Looney (D-New Haven) issued the following statement today in response to Alexion Pharmaceutical’s announcement that it will lay off 20 percent of its global workforce in order to increase corporate profits, and will move several hundred jobs to Boston while retaining several hundred other jobs in New Haven at its “Center for Excellence” in laboratory research and clinical supply.

“It’s unfortunate that federal investigations and poor financial investments are forcing Alexion to lay off thousands of workers worldwide and shutter some of its facilities, including in Rhode Island next door,” Sen. Looney said. “Certainly Connecticut has been a very strong business partner with Alexion, investing millions of dollars and a great deal of time and resources in growing the company right here in Connecticut. But there are some business decisions which are out of the control of state government. Despite all this, I am pleased that Alexion has decided to retain a very substantial job presence here in downtown New Haven.”

According to news reports, Alexion Pharmaceuticals announced earlier today that it plans to lay off 20 percent of its global workforce as part of a restructuring effort in order to increase corporate profits in 2018 and 2019.

As part of the restructuring, Alexion said today that it plans to eliminate spending and workers associated with de-prioritized drug pipeline programs, close multiple company sites (including its Rhode Island manufacturing facility), close certain regional and country-based offices, and outsource certain non-core finance and IT roles.

Alexion plans to relocate its headquarters from New Haven to Boston by mid-2018, moving about 400 jobs to Boston but retaining New Haven as Alexion’s “Center of Excellence” with about 450 jobs there in research labs, clinical supply and quality teams, nurse case management and enterprise business services.

According to The Boston Globe, Alexion made its name on Soliris, a treatment for rare diseases that—at a cost of about $700,000 a year—is also the world’s most expensive drug. But after a series of research pipeline disappointments and an ill-advised $8.4 billion acquisition, Alexion is facing an uncertain future. Soliris, which accounts for about 90 percent of Alexion’s corporate revenue, could lose its patent protection as early as 2021, and Alexion—now under new management—has struggled map out a convincing case for future growth.

The Globe reported that Alexion’s announcement today has been widely anticipated since January, when an accounting scandal caused Alexion’s longtime CEO, David Hallal, to step down. An internal investigation concluded that the company’s senior management “failed to set an appropriate tone at the top,” including a high-pressure sales environment that has made Alexion the subject of federal investigations. Alexion’s board hired a new CEO in March, who swiftly replaced most of Alexion’s top management and cut research programs outside the company’s core scientific focus, the Globe reported.