Roche to cut 1000 research jobs in US, close Nutley site

Roche announced Tuesday the closure of its Pharma Research and Early Development unit in Nutley, New Jersey, resulting in the loss of approximately 1000 jobs as part of a plan to streamline R&D operations. The respective R&D activities from the unit will be consolidated in Basel and Schlieren, Switzerland and Penzberg, Germany, with the addition of around 80 positions.

The closure is part of a planned site consolidation and the streamlining of research activities within the unit to "support efficient allocation of resources for the group’s expanding product development pipeline," according to the company. Roche said that research activities at the sites in Switzerland and Germany will focus on oncology, virology, metabolism and neurology. The drugmaker suggested that the reorganisation will enable it to keep "R&D costs stable despite a strong increase in the number of clinical development projects in the last 18 months."

Roche noted that it will continue to have a presence on the US east coast with a new Pharmaceuticals Translational Clinical Research Center slated to open in early 2013. The new centre, which will eventually employ approximately 240 workers, will support US-based clinical trials and early development programmes, as well as maintain the drugmaker’s interactions with the FDA and with US-based partners. Roche currently employs approximately 20 800 people in the US. The company noted that its financial outlook for 2012 remains unchanged.

As part of the reorganisation, Jean-Jacques Garaud, head of Roche Pharma Research and Early Development, will leave the company on June 30. Mike Burgess, currently Global Head Oncology and Large Molecule Research, will assume his role effective July 1.

Commenting on the news, CEO Severin Schwan said "the planned consolidation of our research and early development organisation and the refocusing of R&D activities in Switzerland and Germany will free up resources that we can invest in…promising clinical programmes while also increasing our overall efficiency."

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