Syntex Corp. is phasing out its only drug-manufacturing planton the mainland, shifting its entire production for the U.S.market to Puerto Rico.
About 280 people work at the Palo Alto, Calif., plant, which willbe phased out over several years.
The move, announced Feb. 8, is the second major cost-cuttingstep announced by the company. In November, Syntex cut1,000 jobsH500 of them vacant positionsHfrom marketing,administrative and research departments. It reduced its SanFrancisco Bay area workforce by 350 jobs, or 8 percent, to3,850 employees in the first layoffs in a decade.
By closing some of its 11 manufacturing plants, the companyplans to eliminate another 600 jobs. The Palo Alto plant is oneof six Syntex facilities throughout the world that makepharmaceuticals. Syntex's products include the anti-inflammatory drug naproxen, and the non-narcotic pain-killerToradol. But sales of naproxen, the company's flagship product,have declined, and sales growth of Toradol and other productshae been disappointing.
Employees at the Palo Alto plant who were laid off will receivethe equivalent of 12 weeks' pay, plus two weeks' pay for everyyear of work up to 13 years. They will receive three months ofhealth benefits after termination.
A company spokeswoman said that the Puerto Rico plant willbe able to handle the increase in production easily because italready has excess capacity. The plant is the company's largest,employing 400 people. Syntex plans to convert the Palo Altoplant to space for its research and development operations.
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