Roche to close four manufacturing plants in Ireland, Spain, Italy and the US

Will build a new CHF300m plant in Switzerland to manufacture specialised medicines based on small molecules

Roche has announced plans to restructure its small molecules production network to address current under-utilisation.

The Swiss drugmaker will exit from four manufacturing sites in Clarecastle, Ireland; Leganes in Spain; Segrate in Italy; and Florence in the US over the next five years as it refocuses its small molecules portfolio on lower volume specialised medicines requiring novel manufacturing technologies.

The move will affect approximately 1,200 jobs.

In an effort to minimise job cuts, the company said it would look for 'divestment opportunities for these facilities'.

Roche will immediately begin discussions with employee representatives in the respective countries. The transition will begin next year and is planned to be completed by 2021.

Roche will invest CHF300m in a new manufacturing facility for these specialised medicines in Kaiseraugst, Switzerland to 'support future technology requirements and to strengthen the company’s development and launch capabilities'.

The firm expects that the site exits will result in non-core restructuring costs of CHF1.6bn until 2021, of which up to CHF600m will be in cash.

'With these changes we are responding to the evolution of our small molecule portfolio towards specialised medicines produced in lower volumes,' says Daniel O’Day, Chief Operating Officer, Pharmaceuticals Division of Roche.

'We are aware of the impact this decision has on our colleagues, and we will do our utmost to support them during this transition.'

Roche has invested more than CHF2bn in its biologics manufacturing capacity over the past two years.

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