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Roche restructures life science business

By: Pharma News | Views: 1058 | Date: 18-Jul-2013

Roche is to cut around 170 jobs in Europe and the US as part of a restructure of its life sciences operation designed to improve productivity and streamline decision-making.The Swiss firm will shut its Roche Applied Science operation - part of its diagnostics division - at the end of this year and warns an estimated 110 posts will go in Penzberg, Germany, and another 60 in Branford, Connecticut.

Roche restructures life science business

Roche image

Roche is to cut around 170 jobs in Europe and the US as part of a restructure of its life sciences operation designed to improve productivity and streamline decision-making.

The Swiss firm will shut its Roche Applied Science operation - part of its diagnostics division - at the end of this year and warns an estimated 110 posts will go in Penzberg, Germany, and another 60 in Branford, Connecticut.

The products which came under the applied science banner - polymerase chain reaction technology (PCR) and nucleic acid product lines (NAP) - will be managed after the changes by Roche Molecular Diagnostics.

Meanwhile the company’s Custom Biotech portfolio will move to Roche Professional Diagnostics.

In an acknowledgment of the importance of sequencing, a new unit will be set up to implement a new sequencing strategy which will range from life science research to clinical diagnostics, as well as managing the company’s existing sequencing business.

The remit of the new team will be to “explore internal and external opportunities that can provide customers with differentiated products”.

Life science work currently accounts for about 7 % of Roche’s total diagnostics sales.

The changes are “designed to enhance responsiveness to scientific and market needs and technology flow from research use to the clinical setting”, the manufacturer said in a statement, adding that it remained committed to its life science work.

A couple of projects have bitten the dust, with Roche admitting defeat on a project to develop a semiconductor-based sequencing system, returning ISFET to DNA Electronics, and also ending its deal with IBM for work on a nanopore-based sequencing platform ‘due to high technical risks’.

Reorganisation has become a staple of pharma over the last few years and Roche points to ‘price pressure and funding cuts’ in research being expected to continue.

“After thoroughly reviewing the activities of our Applied Science Business Area, we concluded that reorganising our life science business will allow us to fully leverage the synergies these products have with our existing clinical diagnostic portfolio,” said Roland Diggelmann, chief operating officer of Roche’s Diagnostics Division.

The company insists its financial outlook for 2013 remains the same and says its half-year results will be the first time the new structure is reported.

Roche says it will deal with redundancies ‘with all care’ and find what it calls ‘socially responsible solutions’ for affected employees, who it intends to tell as soon as possible.

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