As the threat of a global recession looms in 2023, the pharmaceutical industry is beginning to feel the pressure, with several pharma and biotech companies conducting layoffs and reducing their workforces. Among them is the Ferring Research Institute in San Diego, which has announced plans to lay off all 89 of its employees in May.
[Related: Pharma layoffs in 2023: Companies making cuts]
Pharma layoffs amid economic uncertainty
Under the leadership of Araz Raoof, SVP of Global Drug Discovery and External Innovation, the Ferring Research Institute specializes in small molecule and peptide drug discovery.
Saint-Prex, Switzerland-based Ferring Pharmaceuticals disclosed the closure through a California WARN notice last week, which was first reported by Fierce Biotech. Ferring refers to its San Diego institute as its “global research arm and ideas incubator.”
Established in 1996 and relocated to Sorrento Valley in 2009, the Ferring Research Institute underwent a refresh and expansion just last year.
In 2022, Ferring Pharmaceuticals reported a 5.4% increase in revenue from 2021, reaching $4.2 billion. Strong sales of fertility treatments primarily drove the growth, along with new drugs for endometriosis and bladder cancer.
The company’s pipeline includes work across reproductive medicine and maternal health, gastroenterology, urology and uro-oncology. The decision to close the institute comes after two FDA approvals in the last quarter of 2022, including a gene therapy for bladder cancer and a fecal-based drug implant to prevent the recurrence of C. difficile infection.
The biopharma company has also ventured into the application of machine learning and artificial intelligence to identify new drug targets.
Ferring Pharmaceuticals’ U.S. headquarters is in Parsippany, New Jersey. Apart from its San Diego facility, the company also operates research and development centers in Israel and Copenhagen, Denmark. Ferring conducts key research in Copenhagen and Israel, operating 11 R&D and 15 manufacturing sites in total, as stated on the company’s website.
At the time of writing, Ferring did not immediately respond to a request for comment regarding the layoffs at their San Diego facility.
Recent layoffs in San Diego’s biotech and life sciences sector
The San Diego region has experienced a series of pharma layoffs in the biotech and life sciences sector in recent months. Other companies affected by this trend include Evofem Biosciences, Thermo Fisher and Locanabio.
The closure of the Ferring Research Institute in San Diego serves as a testament to the challenges faced by pharmaceutical companies amidst a looming global economic downturn. As more Big Pharma firms face pharma layoffs and reduce their workforce, it remains to be seen how this will impact innovation and the discovery of novel therapies in the industry.
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