Shire's potential U.K. move puts 270 jobs at risk

Basingstoke

Shire wants to close its Basingstoke, U.K., office and relocate to the big city. But as it weighs the move, 270 jobs hang in the balance.

The Dublin drugmaker is looking at shutting down its office at Hampshire International Business Park in favor of new offices in London’s Paddington area in order to bring its U.K. commercial businesses and some R&D and corporate roles “closer to the heart of the life sciences community,” according to a company spokeswoman.

As for certain U.K.-based shared service roles, it’s proposing a shift to Dublin--where “many shared service centers are already established”--over the next 18 months.

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“We believe the time is right to bring us closer to our customer base and our key partners … as we move towards our next chapter of growth," Sebastian Stachowiak, Shire’s general manager in the U.K. and Ireland, said in a statement.

Right now, Shire is consulting with employees--a process that’s set to wrap up in July--and it’s “fully ... committed” to providing those affected with “necessary support in considering their options, a spokeswoman told FiercePharma in a statement.

"Shire aims to keep the majority of existing roles and very much hopes that employees will remain with Shire," she said.

It isn’t the first time Shire has scaled back in Basingstoke. In late 2013, the company confirmed reports that it planned to significantly pare down its hefty research ops there.

And the U.K. isn’t the only country that’s seen that kind of migration from Shire, either. Across the pond, it last March warned of “an anticipated mass layoff” of up to 600 staffers as it forged ahead with plans to shift workers from Pennsylvania to its headquarters in the Boston area, another life sciences hub.

Meanwhile, Shire is still working to close its $32 billion buyout of Illinois’ Baxalta, and when that happens, more cuts could follow. Back in January, the drugmaker publicly said it would be targeting $500 million in cost-squeezing. But as CEO Flemming Ornskov noted, the company’s internal cost-cutting goals are actually “much higher.”

- read the statement (PDF)

Special Report: The 25 most influential people in biopharma in 2015 - Flemming Ornskov - Shire

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