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AstraZeneca announces 1,200 UK job cuts

AstraZeneca has announced plans to close its Leicestershire research facility with the loss of 1,200 jobs

AstraZeneca (AZ) has announced plans to close its Leicestershire research facility with the loss of 1,200 jobs. Staff at the Loughborough plant were given further details of the closure plans yesterday, following the announcement in January that AZ would make 8,000 job cuts worldwide.

The closure comes as a result of plans by the company to reduce its research focus to a smaller number of disease areas although it will not reduce the number of broader therapy areas it covers.

The pharma giant will no longer invest in research into thrombosis; acid reflux; ovarian and bladder cancers; systemic scleroderma; schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, depression and anxiety; hepatitis C and vaccines other than respiratory syncytial virus and influenza.

AstraZeneca's research facility at Charnwood, Leicestershire, UK

AstraZeneca's R&D site at Charnwood in Leicestershire

Anders Ekblom, executive vice president of development at AZ said: "AstraZeneca's strategic commitment to investing in innovative research and development is as clear as ever. We have made real strides in improving our efficiency in recent years, but there is a continuing need to adapt our organisation in anticipation of future challenges. These proposed changes will help us create a more focused, innovative and productive company."

AZ also proposes further closures including the company's facilities in Cambridge and London, and a reduction in numbers at the Avlon facility near Bristol. However, staff numbers at AZ's largest UK site, Alderley Park in Cheshire, will increase due to employees transferring from other sites.

Commenting on the restructuring announcement, Science and Innovation Minister Lord Drayson said: "I'm obviously disappointed that AstraZeneca is closing Charnwood, but the announcement that Alderley Park will become one of AZ's top three global R&D sites shows that the UK remains an attractive location for investment in pharmaceuticals. That's testament to the work the government has done through the Office for Life Sciences to support the sector, especially the creation of the patent box."

3rd March 2010


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