AstraZeneca PLC to Shift an Unknown Number of Jobs to Other Countries in Cost-Cutting Move

Published: Dec 05, 2016

AstraZeneca PLC to Shift an Unknown Number of Jobs to Other Countries in Cost-Cutting Move December 5, 2016
By Mark Terry, Breaking News Staff

London-based AstraZeneca PLC announced that, in an effort to cut costs, it is shifting some of its jobs from the UK to Costa Rica, Poland and Malaysia. Apparently some jobs will be transferred to its headquarters in Cambridge, UK, but others will be moved to other countries.

The company has been struggling for some time. In the first nine months of 2016, profits dropped by 13 percent to $4.7 billion. AstraZeneca reported earlier in the year that it was attempting to cut annual expenses by $1.1 billion by the end of 2017.

In August, the company indicated it had placed its U.S. headquarters in Fairfax, Delaware up for sale. It had made a deal with Pfizer to sell its antibiotics business for more than $1.5 billion. AstraZeneca has about 2,100 staffers in Delaware spread across a packaging facility in Newark and the Fairfax campus. It also has a much lower number of employees at its facilities in Boston and Gaithersburg, Maryland, who are also involved in the antibiotics operations.

The company said in a statement regarding the new cuts, “As part of this global process, in the UK, the plan is to move some finance roles from Alderley Park to either our new headquarters and science center in Cambridge or to newly created regional centers (Costa Rica, Kuala Lumpur and Warsaw) over the next two years. The overall impact in terms of numbers of employees will only become clear once the consultation period has finished and employees have taken their own decisions.”

The employees affected have been informed and individual consultation will begin.

At the announcement made earlier in the year, the company’s chief executive officer, Pascal Soriot, indicated that most job losses would hit the company’s non-British sales staff and the overall impact on the UK would be minimal. In 2013, AstraZeneca shifted 1,600 jobs from Alderley Park to Cambridge and cut 700 jobs. A year before that AstraZeneca laid off 7,300 people.

Much of AstraZeneca’s financial woes are related to generic competition for some of its blockbuster drugs, such as cholesterol therapeutic Crestor, which has lost patent protection.

The company is also working to focus on its core platforms of respiratory, cancer and diabetes drugs. In 2016’s second quarter, those areas grew 8 percent, hitting $3.7 billion.

In July, as part of its second-quarter financial reporting, AstraZeneca reported that it was halting six pipeline programs. They were primarily from its MedImmune biologics division. They included a Phase III combination trial of Epanova (omega-3 carboxylic acids), for triglyceride levels, and Farxiga (dapagliflozin) for liver disease NASH.

It also halted a late-stage GOLD study of Lynparza (olaparib) in second-line gastric cancer. Lynparza is currently marketed for ovarian cancer. It is also ending several New Medical Entities (NME), including MEDI0639, in solid tumors, a combination trial for a PD-L1 drug, durvalumab, and MEDI6383, both in solid tumors. And lastly, MEDI7836, which is an IL-13 mAB YTE asthma drug.

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