Roche begins cutting jobs at Genentech

By Gareth Macdonald

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Pharmaceutical industry Genentech

Swiss firm Roche has begun making cuts at recent $46.8bn biotech acquisition Genentech, in the first stage of a widely anticipated integration programme.

Genentech spokesperson Caroline Pecquet told the San Francisco Chronicle​ that: “Roche has always communicated that it expected some redundancies in certain areas of the business​.”

Pecquet went on to say that less than one per cent of 8,250-strong workforce in the city will be affected but did not provide any specific figures or timescale for the cutbacks.

She added that the cuts, which will be carried out through a series of voluntary contract buyouts, would impact Genentech’s late stage drug development and administrative units.

Pecquet stressed that few if any jobs in Genentech’s manufacturing and production operations will be lost and added that activities at its distribution centers in Vacaville and South Francisco will continue to operate as normal.

Roche integration efforts to date have focused on the upper management with Genentech’s CEO, Arthur Levinson, and president of product development Susan Desmond-Hellmann, being the first major departures.

The San Francisco Business Times reports that Roche will also halt manufacturing operations and cut jobs at its facility in Nutley, NJ.

Roche leaves PhRMA and ABPI for BIO

In other news, Roche confirmed speculation that it plans to leave the US Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers Association (PhRMA) in favour of joining the Biotech Industry Organization (BIO).

The firm, which has also left the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI), told the Star-Ledger that: "BIO's purpose is closely aligned with the direction of the new company and…can represent the company's interest in Washington​."

PhRMA president Billy Tauzin told the paper that: “It's a Genentech decision not to join PhRMA​,'' adding that "they feel they are different.​''

The departure of Roche from PhRMA and the ABPI is likely to have a significant impact on the lobbying power of both organisations.

A report in the UK’s Financial Times suggested that prior to its departure Roche had paid the ABPI a substantial six figure subscription fee.

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