Drugs Firm To Axe Thousands Of Jobs

Local research centre could be affected

Information & Related stories

Local dessert-maker is sold for millions

Ethical drinks company sells minority stake to Coca-Cola

Innocent Drinks to move out of borough


Comment on this story on the forum

Register for a free newsletter

The pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline, which carries out research at Hammersmith Hospital into new treatments, has announced a major restructuring which could result in the loss of thousands of jobs.

The Clinical Imaging Centre (CIC) based at the Du Cane Road site, uses volunteers to test new medicines and find out whether they are safe and effective. But now Glaxo, which spends £11m a year at the centre in operating costs, is expected to scale down activities at its various research facilities in Britain, across Europe and in the United States as part of its restructuring plans.

“We have announced an expansion of GSK’s restructuring programme to deliver additional annual pre-tax savings of £500 million by 2012 (R&D 50%). A significant proportion of these new cost savings will be generated through reduction of infrastructure. We remain very conscious of the impact restructuring has on our employees. Where possible, we will continue to try to preserve jobs,” a Glaxo statement said.

Glaxo built the centre at Hammersmith Hospital in 2002 in conjunction with Imperial College. The CIC employs around 75 full-time members of staff, including imaging experts, biologists, physicians, physicists, clinical scientists, nurses, radiographers, data managers and operations staff.

The company as a whole employs 99,000 people worldwide, with 16,000 in the UK. But Glaxo has been hit by lower-than- expected demand for its swine flu vaccine over the past year and faces new competition from generic versions of some of the drugs it produces. Now, it wants to concentrate on building up its activities in fast-growing emerging markets such as China.

“In delivering our strategic priorities we are diversifying and driving growth in key areas such as
Emerging Markets, Consumer Healthcare and vaccines,” the company's statement says.

Glaxo currently carries out research into treatments for conditions such as cancer, asthma, depression, obesity and pain. GSK also develops vaccines and produces consumer healthcare products such as Beecham’s Powders, Nurofen and Panadol.

5 February 2010