Johnson & Johnson Shuts Down California R&D Outpost, Implements Layoffs

Johnson & Johnson (J&J) is closing its nearly 200,000 square-foot research and development outpost in Brisbane, California, less than 18 months after its grand opening in September 2022, according to sources familiar with the decision. The closure of the San Francisco Bay Campus (SFBC) was confirmed by a J&J spokesperson, who stated that the company will maintain a substantial presence in California through its pharmaceutical and medtech units, along with the establishment of a new California Innovation Center. The closure is accompanied by 55 permanent layoffs, effective by April 26, 2024, with details about the impacted roles remaining undisclosed.

The SFBC, initially launched with plans to hire up to 400 people, focused on emerging gene and RNA-based therapies, as well as research on retinal and infectious diseases. However, internal company communications and sources indicate a gradual pullback from these priorities, particularly in the infectious disease and vaccine unit, throughout 2023. The closure follows J&J's recent rebranding after the spinoff of its consumer health unit, Kenvue, and comes despite the company's record-breaking $15 billion expenditure on research and development in 2023.

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