By Ben Hirschler
March 2, 2010
AstraZeneca (AZN.L) is to stop researching some disease areas that form the backbone of its current business — including schizophrenia and acid reflux — in a drive to focus R&D efforts and cut costs.
The Anglo-Swedish drugmaker, which faces one of the sector’s worst “cliffs” of expiring drug patents, told its staff on Tuesday it would cease discovery in 10 of its current disease areas, or around one quarter of the total.
A wide-ranging overhaul had been expected since the group said in January it was cutting a further 8,000 staff, or some 12 percent of the workforce, including a net 1,800 in research. But it is only now that staff know where the axe will fall.
AstraZeneca is not alone in taking the knife to previously sacrosanct R&D, though its cuts are particularly deep. Pfizer (PFE.N) and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK.L) are also ditching drug discovery work that does not pay its way. [ID:nLDE61408I]
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