AstraZeneca announced further downsizing in response to an expected period of declining revenues in the face of patent expirations. The company will eliminate 2300 positions in sales and general administration. When combined with the reduction in R&D headcount of 1600 announced earlier this week, and the elimination of 1150 positions related to restructuring of a Phase III workforce announced in February 2012, the new announcement brings the total headcount reduction to approximately 5050 over the 2013–2016 period.
In a press release, the company outlined five areas of focus intended to return the company to growth. The company will focus on capturing market share for its platelet aggregation inhibitor, Brilanta (ticagrelor); partner with Bristol Myers-Squibb to achieve a leading position in the noninsulin diabetes market; invest in emerging markets, particularly China; invest in its on-market respiratory portfolio and accelerate its pipeline of respiratory projects; and capture the potential from its established brands and new launches in Japan.
According to the release, the combined program of changes is estimated to incur $2.3 billion in one-time restructuring charges, of which $1.7 billion are expected to be cash costs. Benefits of approximately $800 million per year are expected by 2016.