AstraZeneca cutting 1200 jobs in Wilmington, moving R&D to Gaithersburg, Md.

 British-based drugmaker AstraZeneca said Monday morning it would cut 1200 job from its facility in Wilmington and move research and development functions to a facility in Gaithersburg, Md.

The company said research and development, global marketing and specialty care positions will be moved or cut from Wilmington in a process that will run through.

The newer Gaithersburg facility was inherited when AstraZeneca bought MedImmune for $15.6 billion in 2007 and it will be one of three worldwide research centers for the company. The other two will be in the United Kingdom and Sweden.

The AstraZeneca statement is here:

March 18, 2013 – Wilmington, Del. – AstraZeneca (NYSE:AZN) announced today that Gaithersburg, Md., will be one of three global research and development centers to improve pipeline productivity and to establish the company as a global leader in biopharmaceutical innovation. Additionally, US-based global marketing and specialty care commercial functions will be centered in Gaithersburg, currently the site of MedImmune’s headquarters and the primary location for AstraZeneca’s biologics activities.

The relocation of research and development, global marketing and specialty care positions from Wilmington will be carried out through 2015. The North America commercial headquarters, along with several corporate-based support functions, will remain in Wilmington.

The changes are part of AstraZeneca’s announcement to invest in strategic research and development centers in Cambridge, UK; Gaithersburg, Md.; and Mölndal, Sweden. The proposals are designed to co-locate teams to improve collaboration and put science and the patient at the heart of everything the company does. The changes will also simplify the company’s global site footprint.

Pascal Soriot, Chief Executive Officer, AstraZeneca said: “The changes we are proposing represent an exciting and important opportunity to put science at the heart of everything we do because our long-term success depends on improving R&D productivity and achieving scientific leadership. This is a major investment in the future of this company that will accelerate innovation by improving collaboration, reducing complexity and speeding up decision-making. The strategic centers will also allow us to tap into important bioscience hotspots, providing more of our people with easy access to leading-edge academic and industry networks, scientific talent and valuable partnering opportunities.”

The consolidation of AstraZeneca’s global R&D footprint will have an impact on sites in the United States. About 1,200 positions will leave Wilmington, while there will be an increase of about 300 positions in Gaithersburg. The changes announced today will lead to an estimated overall reduction of about 650 positions in the US, while around 170 will relocate to other AstraZeneca sites in the US or overseas.

“I recognize that our plans will have a significant impact on many of our people and our stakeholders at the affected sites. We are fully committed to treating all our employees with respect and fairness as we navigate this important period of change,” Pascal Soriot said.