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75 jobs eliminated at Bristol-Myers in shift to more promising research avenues

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Bristol-Myers Squibb sign
Bristol-Myers Squibb sign - (Flickr user A4 / CC BY-SA 2.0 http://flic.kr/p/7CEQRV)

Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. will shed about 75 research and development jobs, part of a priority shift that ends discovery work in three areas and invests more in therapies the company says are more promising.

The drugmaker did not disclose where the cuts, amounting to about one percent of the company's global research and development work force, will occur by locality. Bristol Myers operates research and development and manufacturing plus other divisions in New Jersey, employing about 6,500 in the state. The company's website lists locations in Princeton, Hopewell, New Brunswick, Plainsboro and West Windsor.

Spokesman Frederick Egenolf said via email Bristol-Myers is increasing investment in immune-system based cancer therapies and will no longer conduct discovery work in hepatitis C, diabetes and neuroscience. Egenolf said there is no change to the company's late-stage pipeline.

Bristol-Myers said it intends to "explore disease areas of highest unmet medical need where the company can bring the greatest value." That also includes devoting resources toward HIV, Hepatitis B, heart failure, oncology, and fibrotic diseases.

"We are focusing our R&D organization on delivering the opportunities where the value is greatest to patients," Chief Science Officer Francis Cuss said in a statement.

Egenolf did not say how much expense reduction will result from the job eliminations, adding the company's intent is not to save money.

Staffing changes will be enacted by the end of the year. Egenolf said the company is encouraging affected employees to apply for open positions; otherwise employees will receive severances and career transition services.

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