November 7, 2013 / 1:44 PM / 4 years ago

Pharma company Shire to cut up to 180 UK R&D jobs

LONDON (Reuters) - Pharmaceuticals company Shire is cutting up to 180 British research and development jobs as it scales back drug development programmes beyond its focus on rare diseases.

The cutbacks will affect Shire’s main British office in Basingstoke, southern England, where it employs 520 people, a Shire spokesman said on Thursday.

Chief Executive Flemming Ornskov is streamlining the company’s R&D pipeline around its most promising prospects in rare diseases, where drugs can command prices in the hundreds of dollars for a year’s treatment.

The job losses are another blow to Britain’s scientific base after AstraZeneca, Britain’s second-largest drugs company, said earlier this year it would close its Alderley Park labs in northwest England with the loss of 550 R&D jobs and the transfer of a further 1,600 to Cambridge.

Reporting by Paul Sandle; editing by Tom Pfeiffer

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