Drugs Firm AstraZeneca To Cut 700 UK Jobs
AstraZeneca is to cut 700 jobs in the UK as part of a restructuring, partly aimed at saving costs.
The pharmaceuticals firm, which employs 6,700 people in the UK, says it wants to implement the changes over the next three years.
While it plans to open a new research and development (R&D) centre in Cambridge through an investment of £330m, its largest R&D facility at Alderley Park in Cheshire will close.
A majority of the 1,600 people who work there will be relocated to Cambridge, to the fury of unions who say it will mean mean that the North West will lose high-quality jobs.
Pascal Soriot, chief executive officer, said: "The changes we are proposing represent an exciting and important opportunity to put science at the heart of everything we do because our long-term success depends on improving R&D productivity and achieving scientific leadership.
"This is a major investment in the future of this company that will enable us to accelerate innovation by improving collaboration, reducing complexity and speeding up decision-making.
"The strategic centres will also allow us to tap into important bioscience hotspots, providing more of our people with easy access to leading-edge academic and industry networks, scientific talent and valuable partnering opportunities."
AstraZeneca estimates that the proposals will lead to just under £1bn in one-off restructuring charges but annual benefits of the overhaul are expected to reach approximately £125m by 2016.
Some 1,600 jobs will go in total worldwide, Mr Soriot confirmed.
He added: "I recognise that our plans will have a significant impact on many of our people and our stakeholders at the affected sites.
"We are fully committed to treating all our employees with respect and fairness as we navigate this important period of change."
The announcement has come two months after AstraZeneca revealed that its annual net profits had slumped on the back of patent expiries, and has also warned that sales will dive further this year.