GlaxoSmithKline to axe 850 jobs in R&D

Moving forward with its restructuring plan, GlaxoSmithKline announced to employees via email today that it would be laying off as many as 850 (6%) employees in its research and development units in the U.K. and in the U.S. Although the company has yet to determine exactly how many employees will be laid off, the cuts will be concentrated in its preclinical and early-stage drug development teams, and will include scientists as well as administrative staff.

"We have started consultation on proposals which could impact 850 roles within research and development in the U.K. and the U.S.," spokeswoman Claire Brough told the International Herald Tribune. "These changes are necessary as part of GlaxoSmithKline's longer-term strategy to ensure that we can invest in key areas of future growth and evolve our business to compete effectively in what is a rapidly changing and challenging environment for pharmaceutical companies."

At this time last year, GlaxoSmithKline announced a major overhaul that would cut $1.4 billion in costs and 5,000 jobs over four years. Much of the slimming down has been focused on the research and development teams. The British drug maker has since axed 350 jobs in R&D, 90 in a manufacturing plant in Zebulon and closed a manufacturing facility with a workforce of 900 in Puerto Rico.