AstraZeneca PLC Begins Demolishing Fairfax Buildings, Continues R&D Restructuring

Published: Apr 02, 2015

AstraZeneca Begins Demolishing Fairfax Buildings, Continues R&D Restructuring
April 1, 2015
By Krystle Vermes, BioSpace.com Breaking News Staff

Global biopharmaceutical company AstraZeneca PLC officially began demolition on its former laboratory space in Fairfax, Del., on April 1, according to The News Journal. AstraZeneca originally announced its plans to demolish the structures back in 2011, claiming that the move was a part of restructuring its global research-and-development activities.

The buildings account for 35 percent of the company’s campus in Fairfax, which originally housed all of its Delaware-based research initiatives. In 2013, AstraZeneca specified that it had intended to lay off 2,000 workers by 2016, and some of these job cuts were set to impact the Fairfax campus.

However, AstraZeneca appears to be committed to keeping a headquarters in North America. In March 2013, the company announced that Wilmington, Del., would remain its North American commercial headquarters. A total of 2,000 workers were slated to stay at the site to maintain operations.

Restructuring for Research and Development
AstraZeneca laid out its plan for establishing new research and development centers back in March 2013, and its goal was to bring more of the company’s scientists close to bioscience clusters. The three locations that AstraZeneca chose for small molecule and biologics research and development activities were Cambridge, UK; Gaithersburg, US; and Mölndal, Sweden.

“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,” said Pascal Soriot, former chief executive officer of AstraZeneca, at the time of the announcement. “The strategic centers 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.”

The company intended to invest $500 million in its Cambridge site, which was situated near some of the most globally important research institutions in London. The Gaithersburg, Md., location was slated to accommodate global marketing and U.S. specialty care commercial functions. AstraZeneca already had a site established in Mölndal, but specified that it would now focus on small molecules.

At this time, AstraZeneca also announced changes to its facilities in Cheshire, U.K.; Wilmington, Del.; and London, U.K. A majority of London-based and Cheshire-based corporate and commercial workers were assigned to the new center in Cambridge. In Wilmington, Del., about 1,200 workers were removed or relocated from the facility.

“We are fully committed to treating all our employees with respect and fairness as we navigate this important period of change,” Soriot stated.

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