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Belt-tightening Time at Roche

Roche is planning a round of cutbacks, reports Pharmalot's Ed Silverman. "In view of mounting pressures to curb healthcare costs — especially in the United States and Europe — together with recent developments in late-stage projects in the Roche pipeline, this initiative aims to adapt cost structures and accelerate productivity improvements group-wide," a Roche statement says. This, Silverman says, is a euphemism for job cuts. "The move is hardly surprising, though, given recent setbacks Roche has endured," he writes, pointing to the suspension of its rheumatoid arthritis drug trial, delays with getting a cancer drug approved, and the recommendation on Avastin to no longer have a breast cancer indication.

Helvea analysts Odile Rundquist and Karl-Heinz Koch tell Reuters that the savings could reach 2 billion Swiss francs, or $1.9 billion.