Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Winnipeg-Based Biotech Company Cangene Cutting 120 Jobs, Shakes Up Management: Cangene Cutting 120 Jobs, Mostly in Winnipeg

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Winnipeg-Based Biotech Company Cangene Cutting 120 Jobs, Shakes Up Management: Cangene Cutting 120 Jobs, Mostly in Winnipeg

Article excerpt

WINNIPEG - Winnipeg-based Cangene Corp. is cutting 120 jobs, or about 17 per cent of its total workforce, as the company adapts to shrinking demand for drugs stockpiled to combat possible biological warfare or terrorism.

A spokesman for the company, one of Canada's oldest and biggest biotech firms, said Thursday that most of the job cuts will be in Winnipeg where Cangene has its head office and other operations.

There'll be minimal impact on a bottle-filling plant in Baltimore, Md., which mainly does contract work for other companies. A few jobs will be lost at a small office in Toronto that employs about 10 people.

Cangene (TSX:CNJ) sells immune therapeutics around the world to customers that include the U.S. military. It also has been growing its roster of commercial products that use similar technology to treat medical conditions.

The company says its overall workforce will drop to about 580 positions from 700, a few of them already vacant due to a hiring freeze that has been in place some time.

Cangene estimates the cuts will result in reducing future spending by $6 million to $7 million on an annualized basis.

Chief financial officer Michael Graham said the cuts will be made in most types of functions, but mostly in Winnipeg, and affected individuals will be notified over the next month.

Provincial law requires 30-days notice when a company cuts more than 50 jobs, he said.

Cangene makes drugs that can be used to treat victims of anthrax, botulism and smallpox -- three potentially deadly biological threats that could be used in weapons in war or in a terrorist attack.

However, the demand for those biodefence products is less than it was a few years ago when the United States was building up its strategic stockpiles in the wake of the 9-11 terrorist attacks in 2001.

Cangene has also got commercial products for treating pregnant women and their fetuses for a blood disorder, for treating hepatitis B infections in liver transplant patients and other health conditions. …

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