Roche To Cut 6% Of Workforce

November 26, 2010
Stephanie Sutton

Stephanie Sutton was an assistant editor at Pharmaceutical Technology Europe.

Pharmaceutical Technology Europe

Roche has announced implementation plans for its Operational Excellence Program, announced in September, which include eliminating 4800 positions worldwide over the next 2 years — 6% of its current workforce.

Roche has announced implementation plans for its Operational Excellence Program, announced in September, which include eliminating 4800 positions worldwide over the next 2 years — 6% of its current workforce. The largest reductions are planned in the company’s Pharmaceuticals Division, particularly in sales and marketing, as well as manufacturing, according to a press statement.

In addition to the planned reductions, the company also anticipates transfers of about 800 jobs internally and approximately 700 positions to be outsourced to third parties. Overall, the combination of reductions and transfers will affect 6300 positions overall. More than half of the total positions affected (3550) will be in the US.

Worldwide, Roche says it plans to reduce its sales and marketing workforce by 2650 positions. The main reasons for the cuts are the setbacks in its diabetes medicine taspoglutide, with the drug showing safety concerns in Phase III studies, and structural adjustments in its primary care sales organizations.

On the manufacturing side, some technical operations activities will be reorganized in California (USA), Mannhein (Germany) and various other sites, resulting in 750 job losses. Additionally, the company is planning to seek buyers for certain US sites, affecting a further 600 positions.

The company also expects to discontinue or transfer certain product development activities, mostly in the US, to improve overall activity. Certain activities in research and early development will also be discontinued, including RNA interference research in Kulmbach (Germany), and in New Jersey and Wisconsin in the US. Plans also include reorganising some internal functions to free up resources for upcoming Phase II studies of new molecular entities.

According to Roche, the actions enable sustained investment in research and product development, and will result in annual cost savings of 2.4 billion Swiss francs (approximately $2.4 billion) from 2012 onwards.

www.roche.com