May 17, 2020

Eli Lilly and Company to cut 3,500 roles in a strategic overhaul

Catherine Sturman
3 min
Global healthcare company Eli Lilly and Company has shocked its staff by cutting over 3,000 positions and enabling voluntary early redundancy in a bid t...

Global healthcare company Eli Lilly and Company has shocked its staff by cutting over 3,000 positions and enabling voluntary early redundancy in a bid to streamline its services. The decision will further enable Eli Lilly and Company to develop new medicines and improve its overall cost structure.

Set to be completed by the end of the year, the move will see the company deliver annual savings of up to $500 million in workforce savings for the next forthcoming year and improve efficiencies throughout its operations whilst it reinvests in the business.

"We have an abundance of opportunities—eight medicines launched in the past four years and the potential for two more by the end of next year," said David A. Ricks, Lilly's chairman and chief executive officer. "To fully realize these opportunities and invest in the next generation of new medicines, we are taking action to streamline our organization and reduce our fixed costs around the world.

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"The actions we are announcing today will result in a leaner, more nimble global organization and will accelerate progress towards our long-term goals of growing revenue, expanding operating margins and sustaining the flow of life-changing medicines from our pipeline."

The company expects the majority of positions will be taken up through its voluntary early retirement program, eligible for those who meet certain criteria, from which they will also receive enhanced retirement benefits. Remaining positions will come from further reductions and site closures. The reductions will see a cut in eight percent of the company’s total workforce.

Consequently, to further provide sufficient cost savings, the company is moving its production from its animal health manufacturing facility in Larchwood, Iowa, to an existing plant in Fort Dodge and is shutting its research and development offices in Bridgewater, New Jersey and Shanghai, China.

The company has been going through a number of difficult periods, laying off 500 employees at the start of the year and has had to deal with a large number of patent expires, creating increased competition in the drug market for medicines to treat depression, cancer and schizophrenia, amongst others. Additionally, a delay in its new rheumatoid arthritis drug has also represented a number of challenges.

However, it is set to launch two new treatments in 2018, one for migraines, and the other for breast cancer, according to Reuters. The treatments are currently under review by the Food & Drug Administration.

“Around the world we have pricing pressure and I think it’s understandable,” Chief Executive Officer David Ricks has said. “Patients and health-care systems, governments, want us to be more efficient. This is a step toward efficiency. It gives us flexibility and latitude to respond to events that may put pressure on our prices in the future.”

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Jun 15, 2021

 NHS trials test that predicts sepsis 3 days in advance 

2 min
Queen Alexandra Hospital is trialling a new sepsis test by Presymptom Health that uses machine learning to detect the onset of the disease

A new test that can predict sepsis before the patient develops symptoms is being trialled at a National Health Service (NHS) hospital in the south of England. 

Clinicians at Portsmouth’s Queen Alexandra Hospital are leading medical trials of the blood test, which they hope will help them save thousands of lives a year. 

The test is being developed by government spin-out company Presymptom Health, but the research began over 10 years ago at the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl). This included a study of 4,385 patients and more than 70,000 samples, the largest study of its kind at the time. 

From the samples taken, a clinical biobank and database were generated and then mined using machine learning to identify biomarker signatures that could predict the onset of sepsis. The researchers found they were able to provide an early warning of sepsis up to three days ahead of illness with an accuracy of up to 90%.

Unlike most other tests, Presymptom Health identifies the patient’s response to the disease as opposed to detecting the pathogen. This is an important differentiator, as sepsis occurs as a result of the patient's immune system’s overreaction to an infection or injury, which can then cause life-threatening organ dysfunction. 

Worldwide, an estimated 49 million people a year contract sepsis, while in the UK almost two million patients admitted to hospital each year are thought to be at risk of developing the condition. If Presymptom's test is effective, it could save billions of pounds globally and improve clinical outcomes for millions of sepsis patients.

The initial trials at Queen Alexandra Hospital will last 12 months, with two other sites planned to go live this summer. Up to 600 patients admitted to hospital with respiratory tract infections will be given the option to participate in the trial. The data collected will be independently assessed and used to refine and validate the test, which could be available for broader NHS use within two years. 

If successful, this test could also identify sepsis arising from other infections before symptoms appear, which could potentially include future waves of COVID-19 and other pandemics.

Dr Roman Lukaszewski, the lead Dstl scientist behind the innovation, said: “It is incredible to see this test, which we had originally begun to develop to help service personnel survive injury and infection on the front line, is now being used for the wider UK population, including those fighting COVID-19.”

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