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AstraZeneca to axe 7,300 jobs

Anglo-Swedish pharma giant AstraZeneca has announced it will cut another 7,300 job over the next two years.

The company said the cuts are part of a new “restructuring programme”, designed to deliver an estimated $1.6 billion (£1bn) in annual benefits by the end of 2014.

It added that while 3,750 positions will be in corporate and support functions, about 2,200 will be in the research and development sector.

The company said “excess capacity in certain R&D functions will be reduced, matching resources to AstraZeneca’s more focused R&D portfolio”.

It said it intends to combine the company’s internal expertise with “innovative external science”.

As a result, the company is to create a new “virtual” neuroscience innovative medicines unit, consisting of 40 to 50 AstraZeneca scientists conducting discovery and development externally. The team will have hubs in several locations including Cambridge; Boston, US; and Stockholm, Sweden, at the Karolinska Institute.

“We’ve made an active choice to stay in neuroscience though we will work very differently to share cost, risk and reward with partners in this especially challenging but important field of medical research,” said Martin Mackay, the firm’s president of research and development.

“The creation of a virtual neuroscience iMed will make us more agile scientifically and financially – we will be able to collaborate flexibly with the best scientific expertise, wherever it exists in the world,” he added.

Two years ago, the firm announced it would cut 8,000 jobs globally, on top of 15,000 job losses already announced after 2007.