AstraZeneca has announced 2,300 job cuts across its sales and administrative divisions in addition to the 1,600 layoffs that were effected in its research and development sphere. The latest round of cuts takes the number of job cuts in the British drug company to exceed 11,000 in the past 13 months. Pascal Soriot , AstraZeneca’s new chief laid out his cards by saying that he plans to focus research on three main disease areas and strike more external deals such as a new $240 million (£158m) partnership with Moderna Therapeutics, in an effort to replenish a sparse new drug pipeline. Pascal Soriot said that the job cuts were a part of the pharmaceutical company’s commitment to “focus, accelerate and transform our business”.
Pascal Soriot revealed plans of research on three key therapy areas of cancer; cardiovascular and metabolism disorders; and respiratory and inflammatory diseases. AstraZeneca will reduce spending on neuroscience and anti-infectives, including antibiotics. A former veterinarian by training, Pascal Soriot’s plans for AstraZeneca’s revival include acquisitions of promising drugs and smaller companies. The AstraZeneca chief has also pledged to look into the company’s incentive management system in consultation with its large shareholders.
The job cuts would cost AstraZeneca $2.3bn (£1.5bn) in restructuring charges. The UK’s second largest drug manufacturer declined to comment how many of its 6,700 workers would lose their job in the UK. It may be noted that AstraZeneca’s UK staff were the worst hit in cutbacks announced on Monday, comprising 700 of 1,600 job losses as the company consolidates its research and development facilities. The job cuts were a major blow to Tatton where the Alderly Park research facility in Cheshire was shut down, axing 550 employees.
With the ongoing job cuts, AstraZeneca is shrinking fast, having reduced its global workforce by around 10,000 under previous management as it tries to cope with generic competition and disappointing progress in finding new drugs. It now employs a total of 51,700 people worldwide.