….. TOULOUSE, France—Last July, French drug maker Sanofi told research scientists here that their lab didn’t have a future. The company said the facility in southwestern France was too expensive and wasn’t making enough discoveries to remain part of its global research organization….
…… Employees staged weekly protests called “Thursdays of Anger” and challenged Sanofi’s decision in court. They also found a strong ally: the French government. Industry Minister Arnaud Montebourg told parliament he wouldn’t tolerate profitable companies slashing jobs …..
…. The pressure is high in France, where it costs Sanofi significantly more money and 20% more time to develop a new drug compared with competitors, according to a report unions say Sanofi sent them. …..
….The country is still home to half of Sanofi’s R&D staff, but the French labs have failed to produce any significant new medicine in 20 years, Chief Executive Chris Viehbacher said last fall. Asked about the negative reaction to Sanofi’s reorganization plans, Mr. Viehbacher said: “We’re doing what we think is best for the company.” …..