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Roche Lays Off 1,000 Workers

Roche is closing its Nutley, NJ, site and laying off 1,000 workers, the company announced yesterday. The firm's research and development activities will be consolidated into existing sites in Germany and Switzerland. Additionally, Roche says it will be opening a smaller translational clinical research program on the US East Coast that will employ about 240 workers. "The planned consolidation of our research and early development organization and the refocusing of R&D activities in Switzerland and Germany will free up resources that we can invest in these promising clinical programs while also increasing our overall efficiency," CEO Severin Schwan says in a statement. At In the Pipeline, Derek Lowe notes that the Nutley location has been open since the 1930s.

FierceBiotech adds that Roche is only the latest pharmaceutical company to make changes to its R&D activities, as Merck Serono is closing Serono's old headquarters and Pfizer is revamping both its UK and US operations. "The underlying theme here — aside from the obvious and quick cost savings — is that the old bricks-and-mortar approach to building R&D is being [replaced] by a new research ecosystem, where more work is outsourced and investigators labor in a more open R&D environment," FierceBiotech says. "Big facilities are out, ideas and efficiency are in as R&D continues a migration into global hubs."

Roche also announced that the head of Pharma Research and Early Development Jean-Jacques Garaud, will be leaving at the end of the month. Mike Burgess, currently head of oncology research, will become acting head of the pharma program.

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