companies,” said Damien Conover, a Chicago-based senior analyst for Morningstar. German-Canadian CEO Chris Viehbacher – Sanofi’s first non-French boss – has already cut research jobs in Britain and the United States and now wants to regroup sites scattered across France into clusters around Paris, Lyon and Strasbourg. The fate of a research centre in Toulouse, where Sanofi employs around 600 people, has been the focus of unions and local politicians. Sanofi agreed in May to keep a presence there for about five years. But in the memo detailing its latest plans, Sanofi aims to cut staff there to 370 jobs, despite a government-commissioned report recommending it keep 500. “Management told us there would be ultimately be layoffs because some people will refuse to leave Toulouse or Montpellier and they’ll find themselves without a job,” said Stephane Galine, who represents R&D workers at the moderate CFDT union. BREAKING BARRIERS The Toulouse site, isolated in the south of France, epitomises an old-fashioned, inward-looking approach to R&D. Sanofi wants to create more open, collaborative research hubs that bring together academic institutes and budding biotechs in life science hotbeds. In the United States, the company has been building a research hub around Boston since it took over U.S. biotechnology Genzyme in 2011. It has R&D sites in Germany, Canada and Japan. But a quarter of Sanofi’s global workforce is in France – some 28,000 people – including around 5,000 in R&D. “Sanofi is and will remain the biggest private investor in research in France,” a Sanofi spokeswoman said, noting that with 1.8 billion euros ($2.44 billion) last year, France accounted for 40 percent of the company’s R&D budget worldwide. But out of 12 drugs Sanofi expects to launch by 2015, only two come from in-house research, she said, highlighting the need to reorganise research in France to make it more productive.
Sanofi’s home market France may be its biggest handicap
We have a lot of history, experience,” Lloris said. “It’s a bit of a handicap, but unfortunately we have to put up with that. It means we should work harder and the players must surpass themselves.” Another win against Finland, and more of the attacking flair shown against Australia, will send France into the playoffs on a high. “We’re trying to create a positive dynamic and we had a very good result on Friday, where we scored a lot of goals,” Lloris said.” We showed a lot of initiative, played high up and played with a lot of freedom. When we play like that we can cause problems for other teams.” Since striker Olivier Giroud replaced Karim Benzema, the team has played with a sharper focus. Giroud scored twice against Australia and his ability to hold the ball up or lay it off, combined with his excellent touch, make him easier to find than Benzema, who tends to drift wide when he is not getting on the ball and has also lost confidence recently. Deschamps hinted that Giroud has now established himself as the first choice. “You don’t need to ask me the question because he’s started the last two games and has played more than Karim,” Deschamps said. “Yes, we’ll play with one center-forward. I think that’s the system where we’re strongest. It’s easier when you play high up and win the ball in your opponent’s camp. They have less time to get organized, there’s less distance to run when you defend and so you save energy.” Deschamps is expecting Finland, third in Group I, to put up stiffer resistance than Australia did. “I think it will be harder. They’ve had 10 days to prepare,” he said. “It’s true that they’ve got nothing to play for, but that doesn’t mean they’re going to come and stroll around.” Out of the nine qualifying groups, France’s is the only one that has five teams rather than six, and Deschamps called it “a double punishment” in terms of FIFA’s rankings because “we have two less matches, and less points on offer.” French Federation President Noel Le Graet said Sunday that he believes the seeding system is unfair and plans to ask football’s governing body to review it ahead of next Monday’s draw.
Soccer-World Cup playoff seeding unfair, say France
Les Bleus believe the system is flawed because fewer ranking points were available in five-nation Group I while the other sections all contained six teams. “We’re going to contact (FIFA),” French Federation president Noel Le Graet told the radio station RMC. “There is a little injustice between the group of five and the groups of six. “Our rivals from other groups have been able to score more points … that’s a fact.” Asked if he had discussed the issue with Le Great, coach Didier Deschamps said he was not aware of a potential appeal. “I don’t know if my president will bring the case,” he told a news conference at Stade de France. “I wouldn’t go that far in saying there’s an injustice but the fact is that we are sanctioned,” he added. “I see it from my position, from an ethical point of view. It’s already complicated to be in a group of five and we also lack some points.” Captain Hugo Lloris also found it hard for a team who won the 1998 World Cup and reached the final in 2006 not to be seeded although he recognised it was up to the players to improve the rankings. “It shows us how much work we have to do. France should be seeded because of their history,” he said. “Our ranking has put us in a difficult position but we have to make do with it. It requires us to work harder, to make more effort.” (Reporting by Gregory Blachier, editing by Tony Jimenez/Rex Gowar) Sports & Recreation COMMENTARY | As if living in Los Angeles wasn’t already just about as close to perfect as you can get, the city is also home to the most star-studded NBA franchise in the league. Yahoo Contributor Network COMMENTARY | The Los Angeles Dodgers return to Chavez Ravine tonight for Game 3 of the NLCS against the St. Louis Cardinals.