AstraZeneca cuts 1,000 research jobs

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The Independent Online
ASTRAZENECA, the Anglo-Swedish drugs giant, is to cut 1,000 jobs in research and development, including 450 in Britain. The move comes as part of group's plan to shed 6,000 jobs by the end of 2002, following its merger earlier in the year.

The company is to streamline its R&D operations into seven discrete areas by eliminating any duplication of research in separate sites by the end of 2001.

The R&D activities, which employ 10,000 of the group's 34,000 staff, will continue to be based in the UK, United States and Sweden.

In Britain, 300 positions are to go at Alderly Park, which conducts research into cancer, and 150 jobs will be cut at the group's Charnwood site, a centre for respiratory research.

In Sweden, 450 jobs will be cut, with a further 100 positions being eliminated in the US. The group declined to indicate what proportion of the losses would be redundancies or natural wastage.

The move is part of a plan to realise $1.1bn (pounds 688m) of synergy benefits over three years, 60 per cent of which are attributable to manpower reductions. AstraZeneca expects to make $100m of savings by the end of this year and $500m in 2000, with the balance coming in 2001.

The announcement of the job cuts comes as the group prepares to update investors on its R&D portfolio on 6 December, the first update since the group was formed.

AstraZeneca's R&D activities will henceforth be separated into operations focusing on gastrointestinal, cardiovascular, respiratory and inflammation, oncology, central nervous system, pain control and infection therapy areas.

AstraZeneca shares closed down 65p at pounds 27.98 following a sell off of US pharmaceutical stocks.