Shire Set to Cut U.K. Research Jobs as CEO Overhauls Operations

Shire Plc plans to cut U.K. research jobs and will move its Swiss operations as part of a reorganization at the drugmaker led by Chief Executive Officer Flemming Ornskov.

About 180 employees at Shire’s U.K. headquarters in Basingstoke may be affected, a spokesman said by e-mail. The company also plans to move its Swiss operations from Eysins to Zug and has begun consultations with workers, the Dublin-based company said today in a statement on its website.

Shire plans to “discontinue a number of programs outside of rare diseases” and will focus on drug projects that have the best chance of clinical and commercial success, the company said. This will result in a significant decrease in the amount of research and development in Basingstoke, England, the company said. A small number of functional roles may also be affected, the company said.

Shire was little changed at 2,831 pence at 1:35 p.m. in London trading. The stock rose to a record this month, helped by earlier-than-expected positive data on its best-selling Vyvanse pill to treat binge-eating disorder.

Ornskov, who took over in May, has said his overhaul, dubbed One Shire, has already streamlined operations and reduced costs.

“We are making Shire a leaner and more productive organization with a reset cost base,” he said on Oct. 24 after reporting third-quarter earnings.

About 520 of Shire’s 5,500 employees are based in the U.K., the company said.

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