AstraZeneca to Cut 1600 Positions in R&D Reorganization

Mar 18, 2013

AstraZeneca announced that it will consolidate its R&D capabilities into three centers located in Cambridge, UK; Gaithersburg, MD in the US; and Mölndal, Sweden.  The move is designed to concentrate R&D near nationally recognized research hubs and to reduce complexity and costs by shrinking the company’s footprint.  The reorganization will lead to the relocation of nearly 2500 positions and an overall estimated reduction in headcount of 1600 positions, according to a company press release. The vast majority of job losses will be in the UK and the US.

AstraZeneca will invest approximately $500 million to establish a new, purpose-built facility in Cambridge that will house the company’s UK-based small molecule and biologics R&D. Cambridge will also become AstraZeneca’s new global corporate headquarters. The consolidation means that R&D will no longer be carried out at the Alderley Park, Cheshire site in the UK. According the release, approximately 1600 positions will relocate from Alderley Park, with the majority going to the new center in Cambridge and the remainder to the company’s nearby Macclesfield manufacturing facility or other AstraZeneca sites overseas. In addition, the majority of corporate and global commercial roles based in London are expected to move to Cambridge, with some going to other AstraZeneca sites. Following the transfer of the company’s headquarters to Cambridge, AstraZeneca’s Paddington office will close by 2016.

Gaithersburg, which is the site of MedImmune’s headquarters and the primary location for AstraZeneca’s biologics activities, will also become home to much of the company’s US-based Global Medicines Development activities for small and large molecules and will accommodate some global marketing and US specialty care commercial functions, according to the release.

In the US, the company expects an overall reduction of approximately 650 positions. Wilmington, DE will remain the company’s North America commercial headquarters. However, with the exit of the Global Medicines Development group and the relocation of global marketing and US specialty care commercial roles, Wilmington will lose approximately 1200 positions. There will be a net increase of approximately 300 positions in Gaithersburg and approximately 170 positions will be moved to other AstraZeneca sites in the US or overseas.

AstraZeneca’s site in Mölndal, near Gothenburg, will continue to be a global center for research and development, with a primary focus on small molecules.

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