Roche to close Irish site by next year, plans 132 layoffs: report

Roche
Roche is planning to close a manufacturing site in Ireland by next year. (Roche)

After successfully selling three small molecule manufacturing plants around the world, Roche was unable to find a buyer for a site in Clarecastle, Ireland. Now, it’s set to close up there and lay off 132 workers by next year, The Irish Times reports

Roche is already in the process of a phased exit, and the drugmaker expects the process to conclude by March 2020, the newspaper reports. The company has set aside €24 million for the employees who are still working at the site, the newspaper reports, citing Roche Ireland documents. That means each worker could be in line for a €180,000 termination payment.

In 2015, Roche unveiled a massive shift of manufacturing priorities, setting out to downsize its small molecule manufacturing capacity and bolster its biologics presence. Before that, the drugmaker announced it’d spend €800 million to expand biologics capacity at sites in Germany, Switzerland and the U.S.

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RELATED: Roche cutting 1,200 jobs in major shift in producing drugs 

As part of the moves, Roche said it would cut 1,200 jobs and exit four small molecule sites around the world. Roche ultimately found buyers for its plants in the U.S., Italy and Spain, but couldn’t sell the Ireland site, and now it's closing up shop.

The drugmaker sold its site in Spain to Recipharm, which won a long-term deal to supply Roche with solid-dose drugs and agreed to keep 200 workers at the facility. Roche used similar contract language to sell its other plants.

RELATED: Roche unloads another plant in deal with Recipharm that saves 200 jobs 

Roche’s bet on biologics has been paying off as the company holds a leadership position in cancer and other diseases. But it’ll face a new test as biosimilars to its three top cancer drugs hit the U.S. market, threatening $10 billion in sales. Roche executives believe the company’s newer medicines can fill the gap created by biosimilars and add some growth.

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