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AstraZeneca Consolidates Research in U.K. and U.S.

Pascal Soriot (AstraZeneca UK Ltd)

Pascal Soriot (AstraZeneca UK Ltd)

The pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca will consolidate its research operations at three main hubs in its U.K. home base, as well as the U.S. and continental Europe. The four-year plan, which includes moving its corporate headquarters, is expected to cost the company $1.4 billion and result in a reduction of some 1,600 jobs, mainly in the U.K. and U.S., with the relocation of about another 2,500 positions.

AstraZeneca plans to make Cambridge its corporate headquarters as well as life sciences research hub in the U.K., spending $500 million to move its headquarters the 60 miles (97 kilometers) from London, and build a research center focusing on biologics and small molecules. The company plans to reloate 1,600 research positions from its current lab in Alderley Park in Chesire to Cambridge or a drug manufacturing plant in nearby Macclesfield. About 700 non research positions are expected to remain in Alderley Park.

In the U.S., AstraZeneca will concentrate its global medicines development division in Gaithersburg, Maryland, at the site of the company’s MedImmune biotechnology subsidiary, moving 300 research and marketing positions from its U.S. headquarters in Wilmington, Delaware. While Wilmington will continue as AstraZeneca’s commercial headquarters in the U.S., the company expects to cut 650 jobs in the U.S. and relocate another 170 positions to other locations in the U.S. and overseas, with a total headcount reduction in Wilmington of 1,200.

AstraZeneca says its research center in Mölndal, Sweden near Gothenburg will continue research and development on small molecules. And the company’s current research operations in Boston, Massachusetts will also continue its work on small molecules.

AstraZeneca’s CEO Pascal Soriot (pictured at top) says the consolidation will allow the company to “tap into important bioscience hotspots providing more of our people with easy access to leading-edge academic and industry networks, scientific talent, and valuable partnering opportunities.” Soriot adds the changes will enable AstraZeneca to “put science at the heart of everything we do because our long-term success depends on improving R&D productivity and achieving scientific leadership.”

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