180 pharmaceutical employees based in Ridgefield to be laid off

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RIDGEFIELD– Pharmaceutical giant Boehringer Ingelheim is in the process of notifying 180 Connecticut-based employees that they will be laid off.

Starting in July, the company began reducing its U.S. workforce by 244. The company told FOX 61 on Thursday the layoffs will include 180 from its U.S. headquarters in Ridgefield, Connecticut — 120 employees in the small molecule discovery research unit and an additional 60 in other job functions.

The Germany-based company has its U.S. operations based in Ridgefield.

However, the company did say that about 35 new positions will be created in Connecticut with a new cancer immunology discovery research group launching in 2017. It’s not clear if current or former employees would be offered those positions.

The 120 in the small molecule discovery research unit were notified on Thursday that they would be laid off, while the 60 other Connecticut employees have been notified over the past few months.

Here is a statement from the company:

Following a careful examination of our human pharmaceuticals business, we made the difficult decision to reduce approximately 244 additional headcount nationwide since July 1. This includes approximately 120 in small molecule Discovery Research and 60 in other functions located in Connecticut. We have also reduced the size of our sales force by an additional approximately 64 headcount nationwide.

The actions we are taking now will help us reinvent the way we serve the needs of our patients, and enable us to continue to identify new medical breakthroughs.

In order to continue to deliver on our research strategy, we must create a leaner global Discovery Research organization by consolidating small molecule discovery to two sites in Biberach, Germany and Vienna, Austria. This decision will result in the closure of the small molecule discovery functions in Ridgefield, CT and Milan, Italy.

The creation of a leaner global Discovery Research organization will allow for increased investments in Oncology, with a focus on cancer immunology. The ability to modulate the body’s own immune system has opened new exciting ways to treat cancer. A new group will be formed, and led out of Ridgefield beginning in 2017 that will focus on cancer immunology discovery research. This new group will result in approximately 35 new positions in Connecticut.

We are sympathetic to the impact this decision will have on Boehringer Ingelheim employees and their families.  We are committed to treating all employees with dignity, respect and sensitivity. We will support affected employees in a number of ways, including severance, outplacement services, and identifying other employment opportunities within the Boehringer Ingelheim network, as appropriate.