Mayo cuts clinical trial unit
It should be obvious by now. When I teased that a major Rochester employer had made a job cut yesterday, the major employer I was talking about was Mayo Clinic.
Random fact - The Mayo Clinical Trials Services unit was a sponsor of a Lifescience Alley biotech business networking event in Rochester a month ago.
It was at the Art Center and a busload of people interested in biobusiness rolled in from the Cities. I attended and met many of the MCTS folks, including its scientific director Larry K. Oliver.
When I chatted with LifeScience Alley late yesterday, they said they were surprised and had not heard about the Mayo Clinic move.
That was even more surprising, because LifeScience Alley folks were in Rochester Wednesday meeting with another major employer - IBM.
Here's some of the story:
Mayo Clinic is closing a 100-person operation and immediately cutting 30 jobs — Mayo Clinical Trial Services — because of anticipated future losses and a change in business strategy.
On Wednesday, the clinic announced that the clinical trials unit is no longer accepting new contracts and 30 employees’ jobs will end immediately. Another 27 positions will be eliminated in 2009.
"The hope is that most of those folks will find new jobs either within the Department of Lab Medicine or elsewhere in Mayo Clinic," Mayo spokesman Adam Brase said.
"We’re really committed to working with those folks to help them through the transition and identify opportunities and options for them."
Clinical Trials Services, which started in 1991, does scientific product testing under contract for drug companies, medical device makers and other biotechnology firms.
Its Web site says it has conducted more than 1,000 clinical trial studies in all major therapeutic areas.
It offers more than 3,000 tests to be used by drug development companies.
The unit, based in the Mayo Collaborative Services building at 3050 Superior Drive N.W., will fulfill all current contracts that extend until 2010.
As the workload decreases, the staffing numbers could continue to go down.
"Ultimately, I don’t know what the final numbers will be, but that’s what we can foresee right now," Brase said.
However, "the marketplace it is in is very highly competitive — driven by a number of low-cost, routine tests. That really doesn’t take advantage of our strengths or our really specialized expertise in lab testing," he said.
An analysis also " … concluded that the clinical trials unit would see substantial financial losses into the foreseeable future," according to an internal Mayo Clinic memo announcing the closing.
"So the decision was made to sunset this service line and refocus those efforts on other areas within Mayo Collaborative Services which not only best match our skills, but also are doing very well," Brase said.