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AZ shutters R&D unit in India

Local reports says pharma company will transfer operations to UK and outsourcing partners
AstraZeneca AZ headquarters London UK

AstraZeneca (AZ) has revealed that it plans to shut down a facility it operates in India, with the loss of 168 jobs, as part of its ongoing R&D restructuring programme, according to local press reports.

The closure of the Avishkar site in Bangalore – which focuses on research in the areas of tropical medicine, malaria and tuberculosis – will get underway in April and result in many of the programmes being transferred to AZ's UK-based R&D operations in Macclesfield as well as outsourcing partners.

Some early-stage projects will be discontinued altogether, according to the company, although it will continue to back more advanced projects such as AZD5847, a drug for TB developed at Avishkar that has advanced into phase II trials. The facility is expected to be entirely shut down by the end of the year.

“This decision is in no way related to any local issues or changes to the regulatory environment or to the performance of our R&D teams in India, which has been of high quality,” said a report in the Business Standard citing an AZ statement. At present the company employs around 1,200 people in India.

Last March, AZ revealed plans to overhaul its approach to research, narrowing down its focus to cancer, cardiovascular and metabolic disorders, and respiratory, inflammation and autoimmune disease and shedding around 1,600 jobs. At the same time it also decided to relocate its global corporate headquarters to Cambridge, UK, by 2016.

The restructuring is part of a three-year plan from AZ to drastically reshape its approach to research, which includes the development of three R&D centres in the UK, the US and Sweden and a previously announced reorganisation of its senior research heads.

Article by
Thomas Meek

30th January 2014

From: Research

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