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SkyePharma to cut its Swiss workforce by 20 per cent

Job losses at research facility in Muttenz will save UK-based company £1.8m

SkyePharma has said it plans to reduce staff numbers at its research facility in Muttenz, Switzerland by 20 per cent.

The plant currently employs 101 people and the UK-based company said it expects the job cuts to generate cost savings of £1.8m (2.6m Swiss francs) a year.

SkyePharma's CEO Axel Müller said: “We regret the need to reduce the workforce at our Swiss operations. However changes are essential to ensure that we have the correct staffing to meet demand and remain competitive.”

There is a chance some affected employees will move to similar jobs with Aenova, who are to sublet part of the laboratory space at Muttenz from SkyePharma.

The German-based manufacturer of solid oral dosage forms said it intends to use the space to expand its own oral product development activities and confirmed it would offer positions to some of the affected SkyePharma employees.

SkyePharma will also sell Aenova surplus laboratory equipment, and has agreed a deal to make use of the German firm as a third-party sub-contractor for certain aspects of the oral product development process as part of efficiency measures.

Muller said that the deal with Aenova would “enable SkyePharma to operate in Muttenz with lower fixed costs whilst continuing to offer clients the full range of our innovative services and solutions”.

The agreement is not the first between the two companies, with SkyePharma leasing its entire pharmaceutical manufacturing business and premises in Lyon, France, to Aenova in August 2011.

The Lyon agreement saw Aenova assume responsibility for 60 SkyePharma staff in France, and provided the company with a manufacturing facility to strengthen its market presence in France and support its capabilities to produce complex products.

Speaking at the time, Muller described the 2011 Lyon deal as an “important opportunity” to increase utilisation of the facility and allow the company to focus on developing drug delivery solutions.

10th January 2012

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