October 15, 2018 / 11:35 AM / a month ago

Bayer may outsource some drug research - works council

The logo of Bayer AG is pictured at the Bayer Healthcare subgroup production plant in Wuppertal, Germany February 24, 2014. REUTERS/Ina Fassbender/File Photo GLOBAL BUSINESS WEEK AHEAD PACKAGE - SEARCH 'BUSINESS WEEK AHEAD 24 OCT' FOR ALL IMAGES

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Bayer’s (BAYGn.DE) chief executive is considering farming out certain drug research activities to cut costs amid slower growth at its pharmaceuticals division, the German company’s works council said on Monday.

The works council cited CEO Werner Baumann as he spoke to staff at a gathering at the group’s Leverkusen headquarters on Sept 28. Reuters reported last month that considerable restructuring efforts at drug research and development, including outsourcing, were underway.

“Werner Baumann spoke about the prospect of weaker growth at the pharmaceutical business and mentioned considerations that some expenditures on pharma research could be outsourced,” the works council said in a statement.

A person familiar with the company told Reuters last month that Bayer, which bought Monsanto for $63 billion this year, is considering job cuts and outsourcing as part of a wide-ranging review of drug research and development that will last until at least November.

The savings that Bayer - the inventor of aspirin and maker of Yasmin birth control pills - could make as part of the overhaul would give it financial wiggle room as it competes with larger rivals to buy the right to promising treatments from biotech firms.

Revenues from the drug unit’s top products, blood thinner Xarelto and eye drug Eylea, will peak over the next six years.

A Bayer spokesman said Baumann’s remarks were in reference to plans to intensify external collaborations, which had previously been communicated.

The works council said it wanted more information and demanded wider-ranging job guarantees, beyond a pact that was previously agreed with the company.

Reporting by Patricia Weiss,; Writing by Ludwig Burger, editing by Ed Osmond

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