Bristol-Myers Squibb Co is eliminating 1,000 jobs, or about 2 percent of its work force, as part of a move to refocus itself as a pure pharmaceutical company.
More layoffs are possible as the reorganization continues through the middle of next year, spokesman Charles Borgognoni said.
The cuts would affect all divisions of the company, although the nine sites in New Jersey would suffer most, losing a total of 350 jobs.
Borgognoni wouldn't disclose the savings achieved from the layoffs and didn't know if the cuts would result in a charge against fourth-quarter earnings.
When all layoffs are complete, the New York City-based company will have about 45,000 employees worldwide. The announcement comes a month after Bristol-Myers completed its US$7.8 billion acquisition of DuPont Pharmaceutical Co and laid off 2,000 of its 5,000 employees. The DuPont acquisition was part of company's recent strategic moves.
Bristol-Myers, which had been holding a number of different health-related operations, has spun off orthopedic medical device maker Zimmer Holding Inc., and sold its Clairol hair-care business to Procter & Gamble Co for US$4.95 billion.
Meanwhile, it acquired DuPont's pharmaceutical division and also spent US$1 billion to purchase a 20 percent stake in ImClone Systems Inc, which has a promising experimental cancer drug.
"The cuts are reflective of our move toward becoming a more focused pharmaceutical company," said Borgognoni.
He said the affected employees will be paid through the end of the year. Severance packages would begin next year. The weakening economy has pushed scores of companies to announce layoffs, though analysts don't believe this a harbinger of employee contraction in the pharmaceutical industry.
"This is something Bristol felt they needed to do," said Banc of America Securities analyst Leonard Yaffe. "I don't expect this to be an industrywide thing."
Shares of Bristol-Myers were up US$0.75 to US$55.65 in trading on the New York Stock Exchange.