UCB cuts 2,000 jobs, re-tools as a specialty company

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Citing a desire to become a specialist company with a stronger focus on its core assets, UCB announced a redeployment of its global workforce that will result in the elimination of 2,000 jobs.

The Brussels-based pharmaceutical company will add 400 new positions and re-deploy 300 additional workers. UCB spokesperson Antje Witte, told MM&M that the job cuts will be across all departments including sales force, finance, marketing, production, and management. However, in the US, sales force jobs will not be affected.

“This is an attempt to get the company into the right shape and get new products to market,” said Witte, adding that the re-organization will allow the company to focus on new launches and the future pipeline. She also noted that the jobs cuts will have more of an impact in Europe than in other areas.

UCB has been facing eroding sales due to recent patent expirations. Meanwhile, company officials plan to leverage the success of the recently approved Cimzia (certolizumab pegol), a tumor necrosis factor blocker for the treatment of Crohn's Disease; positive feedback on an ANDA for Neupro (rotigotine transdermal system) for restless leg syndrome (RLS) and on an NDA for Vimpat (lacosamide) for the treatment of epilepsy.
In addition to streamlining layers of management and consolidating core functions, UCB announced plans to invest € 300 million (euros) within the next three years, in core businesses such as immunology as well as R&D. The company also plans to outsource more of its non-core activities. 

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