UCB revamps with 2,000 job cuts

Yet another pharma company is hopping on the layoff bandwagon. In an effort to become a focused central nervous system and immunology disease company--and prepare for patent expirations--Belgium's UCB Pharma is reallocating €300 million over the next three years and cutting 2,000 jobs. That's about 17 percent of the company's workforce.

The drug developer said about 2400 positions will become redundant, but that it will be creating around 400 new jobs. Three hundred other positions will be re-deployed to UCB's core sites. The company's top drug--the anti-epileptic treatment Keppra--will lose patent protection in January. The allergy drug Zyrtec also went off patent in the U.S. at the end of 2007. "Patent expires are challenging times," said Roch Doliveux, CEO of UCB.

The €300 million investment, part of the company's SHAPE project announced earlier this month, will boost UCB's CNS and immunology programs while improving the company's competitiveness.

"...[F]ollowing the recent approval of Cimzia for Crohn's disease in the U.S. and the positive opinions for Neupro for RLS and Vimpat for epilepsy in Europe, the time is now to take action to shape UCB for the future and become a specialist company focused on successfully delivering our new medicines to patients," explained Doliveux.

- check out UCB's release
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