Sanofi-aventis restructures R&D unit, including facility closures
Sanofi-Aventis has unveiled a new research and development (R&D) model that will include closing four facilities in France and selling a fifth, with future plans to close down locations in Japan, the U.S., U.K. and Spain as well.

While the Paris-based Sanofi said it will not be engaging in any layoffs, a "plan for voluntary departures is being considered," which will comprise a mechanism for anticipated work departures fully financed by the company, and assistance for professional reorientation projects outside the company.

In its home country of France, the company plans are to combine discovery research establishments. In the Paris area, the activities and personnel of the Bagneux and Rueil-Malmaison sites are to be transferred to the Chilly-Mazarin site, as are the activities and personnel of the Evry site -- which will affect approximately 300 people. In the Toulouse area, the Labège site's activities and its personnel, about 150 people, are to be transferred to the Toulouse site.

Sanofi also said that the grouping of tertiary activities in the Paris area and their staff on two neighboring sites, Massy and Chilly-Mazarin, is being considered. For the Porcheville site, which employs approximately 200 people, a "divestment solution is currently being investigated."

To ease these transfers, the company said its moving assistance measures, both geographic and professional, will be implemented.

Sanofi also said that its research reorganization project will also concern preclinical activities in some sites of Spain, the U.K., the U.S. and Japan, "where divestment or reconversion solutions will be sought for certain activities.