Actelion to cut 135 jobs and refocus r&d effort

Aims to take advantage of expertise in pulmonary arterial hypertension

Swiss biopharmaceutical firm Actelion is to cut 135 jobs as part of a cost saving initiative to address challenges facing the company from the strong Swiss franc, increased competition in the US, and the pricing and reimbursement environment in Europe.

The firm says the initiative will ensure that it can take advantage of growth opportunities in its core area of expertise of pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH).

In parallel, the company will refocus its research and development activities towards orphan and specialist indications. Jean-Paul Clozel, md and ceo of Actelion, said: β€˜In order to take full advantage of the growth opportunities ahead of us, we must take decisive action now. We will maintain the earning power of our business thereby balancing long-term growth opportunities with short-term profitability enhancement.’

The refocusing of Actelion's r&d efforts will mean that some projects will either be stopped, or prepared for partnership or out-licensing.

The firm says the cost savings will start to take effect in the latter part of 2012 and accelerate in 2013.

The cost saving initiative is expected to result in a reduction of up to 135 jobs in r&d and administration. Approximately 115 positions could be cut in Allschwil, Switzerland where these functions are predominantly located. Actelion's key global functions will continue to be headquartered in Switzerland.

Actelion says it hopes to minimise the number of potential redundancies through natural wastage, early retirements and other such measures. The company has begun a consultation process with employee representatives in Allschwil.

The firm will take a one-off restructuring charge – the size of which is still to be determined – that will be included in its 2012 financial statements.

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