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Genzyme plans to cut 1,000 jobs

US biotech Genzyme is rumoured to be cutting 1,000 jobs over the next 15 months and plans to sell its genetic testing business by the end of the year

Genzyme is planning to cut 1,000 jobs over the next 15 months, according to an internal memo sent on September 10.

The US-based biotech will also sell its genetic testing business to fellow US-based laboratory network LabCorp for $925m before the end of the year and has further plans to divest its 'non-core' diagnostic products and pharmaceutical intermediates businesses. Selling the genetic testing business will entail a loss of a further 1,900 jobs for Genzyme but LabCorp has confirmed that it will offer these employees new contracts when the sale is completed.

This is the latest in a series of job cuts that have been announced by the industry: sanofi-aventis (S-A) made a similar announcement in June while in May it was announced that Pfizer had plans to cut 18 per cent and Takeda to cut 10 per cent of their respective global workforces. In March AstraZeneca announced the closure of its facility in Leicestershire, UK, with a consequent loss of 1,200 jobs, which followed its January announcement that it would cut 8,000 jobs worldwide by the end of 2014.

After reducing its 2010 revenue forecast earlier this year, in May Genzyme announced it was to make cost reductions, though it did not specify it would make job cuts. The company has since been evaluating where to make these savings and the job cut decision was made as a result of this evaluation.

To reduce share price volatility, Genzyme has also initiated a $2bn buyback of its stock, which is due to be completed by May 2011.

The company, which has yet to make an official public announcement about the job losses, currently has approximately 12,800 employees worldwide.

In August Genzyme rejected an $18.5bn takeover bid from S-A.

14th September 2010

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