Sanofi are to close their drug manufacturing site in Newcastle, and the Genzyme R&D site in Cambridge, resulting in the loss of over 500 jobs.
The Fawdon site in Newcastle will close down in 2015, with the loss of 450 staff. The shut-down is being blamed on the growing use of generic drugs and the European economic downturn. Consultations have begun with staff.
A company statement said: “Under the proposal the plant, which makes solid dose oral medications mainly for UK and European markets, would be scheduled to close by mid-2015. The proposal is being considered in the context of an adverse economic climate and the challenging pharmaceutical market in Europe. The products manufactured at the Fawdon site have been adversely affected by other factors, including generic competition, resulting in a fall in demand and production volumes.”
The closure of Genzyme is part of the company’s ongoing global restructuring of R&D, with 60 staff standing to lose their jobs, although they hope to transfer those staff to other posts within the business. The site in Milton Road is expected to close by the end of 2012, but the plants in Haverhill and Oxford would remain unaffected.
“The maximum number of staff impacted is 60,” said a Genzyme spokesperson. “We are actively looking at options to minimise the number of jobs losses – either through transfer of roles within the Sanofi group, or through assisting impacted employees in finding alternative employment.”
Sanofi’s global restructure will also affect R&D sites in the US, Germany and Asia and lead to further job losses in these areas, although there are plans to build geographically-focussed integrated research hubs in the Boston area, Germany, France and Asia to integrate research and early development capabilities.