13.07.2012 - Swiss biotech company Actelion announces to reduce headcount by 135 in order to lower costs and refocus research.
The swiss pharma company is relying heavily on 1st main product, the blood-pressure drug Tracleer, which currently accounts for around 90 percent of group sales and goes off patent in 2015. As the sales of the endothelin receptor antagonist decline, Actelion decided to start a cost saving initiative. "In order to take full advantage of the growth opportunities ahead of us, we must take decisive action now," said Chief Executive Jean-Paul Clozel.
The cost savings will reduce research spending. Actelion is set to concentrate 1st R&D activities towards orphan and speciality indications. Projects „which are not in alignment with this strategy will either be stopped, or prepared for partnership or out-licensing“, the Swiss company stated on 12 June. The cuts will be the first at Actelion since it was founded in 1997 and will mostly hit the headquarters in Allschwil. Around 70 jobs, mostly in R&D and general administration, are likely go at the Allschwil site in Switzerland, where 1,100 employees are currently based. Another 45 currently vacant positions won't be filled, reports Fox Business.
“It’s good to see they’re doing the right thing,” Michael Leuchten, an analyst at Barclays Capital in London, said to Bloomberg, adding that it would be „a bit more than they had been talking about” at a briefing in May, when the company said it would seek cost reductions in research, and not administration. Analyst Birgit Kulhoff, who manages a healthcare portfolio for private bank Rahn & Bodmer in Zurich is more sceptical. She said, that Actelion's cost-cutting scheme would merely aim at keeping the company afloat, after it had built up a structure that was too big and hard to sustain. Vontobel analyst Andrew Weiss expects the job cuts to generate savings of about CHF40m, while the related charges could be in the area of CHF20 million. Actelion will provide a will provide a business update at the half year reporting, scheduled for 19 July 2012.
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