MedImmune, the biotech unit of U.K.-based pharma giant AstraZeneca, is making some significant cuts to its R&D operations in the Bay Area.
MedImmune said today it is closing down its Mountain View, CA and Santa Clara, CA research and development sites, while consolidating infectious disease and vaccine work at other sites, including one in Hayward, CA. About 300 employees will be affected by the move, with 100 people moving to other MedImmune locations, including the Hayward site, the company said in a statement. MedImmune, based in Gaithersburg, MD, has about 3,500 employees worldwide.
AstraZeneca agreed to acquire MedImmune in 2007 for $15.6 billion to get ahold of its antibody drug for respiratory syncytial virus, palivizumab (Synagis), a nasal spray flu vaccine called FluMist, and the capability to develop more vaccines and biotech drugs. But in an industry full of companies struggling to develop new drugs, AstraZeneca’s productivity, even after the MedImmune acquisition, has been especially poor, according to a February analysis in Forbes. That same month, AstraZeneca announced a new plan in which it is cutting 7,300 jobs companywide, in a bid to save $2.1 billion by the end of 2014.