Merck & Co. has decided to lay off 143 people from the Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Acceleron. In November 2021, Merck completed the acquisition of Acceleron Pharma for about $11.5 billion.

$11.5 billion acquisition

Acceleron have their headquarter in the Boston suburb at 128 Sidney Street. “On Tuesday, March 15, Merck issued a Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (“WARN”) notice to 143 legacy employees of Acceleron Pharma who will be separating from the company in a phased manner through November 18, 2022.” Merck’s spokesperson said in a statement. At the time of buyout Merck offered two options to the employees. Firstly, employees can accept a full-time role. Secondly, they asked the employees to stick around to support the integration for a preset period of time. “As part of the ongoing integration of Acceleron, we have extended more than 160 offers since November 2021, of which 75% have accepted positions since the acquisition was announced.” The spokesman further added.

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    The takeover enabled Merck get its hands on Acceleron’s lead clinical candidate sotatercept. It has the potential of hitting $2 billion to $ 3 billion in peak sales. Moreover, it generated $551 million during 2021 in sales.

    Potential lay-offs

    The latest decision from Merck will potentially effect the employment and it is directly related to downsizing of workforce. As of December 31, 2020, Acceleron had 312 full-time positions. However, the company has not disclosed any information about the divisions which will be affected by this change. In addition, Merck also told Fierce Pharma about shutting down production at its Cherokee manufacturing facility in Danville, Pennsylvania, sometime in 2024. The decision will affect more than 300 full-time jobs. However, the lay-offs will occur in phases over the next two years.

    Merck’s $11.5 billion Acceleron buyout was one of the biggest deals in 2021. They finalized the deal in November 2021 despite antitrust concerns and protests from rebel Acceleron investors.

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