SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO (CBS 5 / AP) — Swiss pharmaceutical company Roche – the parent company of South San Francisco’s biotechGenentech Inc. – announced it will cut 4,800 jobs over two years, mostly in the U.S., to help save $2.4 billion by 2012.

Included in the cuts are 200 jobs at Genentech’s South San Francisco headquarters and 100 jobs at Genentech’s Vacaville research facility, officials told CBS 5 on Thursday.

Worldwide, the job reductions amount to six percent of Roche’s 82,000-strong global work force and will mainly affect positions in sales, marketing and manufacturing, Roche Holding AG said in a statement.

Roche reported a 7 percent year-on-year drop in third-quarter sales last month.

Other U.S. locations to be hard hit by Roche’s “Operational Excellence Program” include Florence, South Carolina; Boulder, Colorado; Nutley, New Jersey; Madison, Wisconsin; and Oceanside in California, the company said.

“These measures are necessary to ensure sustained success of the company,” said Roche’s Chief Executive, Severin Schwan. “We will make every effort to find socially responsible solutions for the employees affected.”

The company has been hit by cuts to health care budgets in the wake of the global economic downturn, and tighter rules for the approval of new drugs.

Analysts at Zuercher Kantonalbank said the widely anticipated job cuts were more drastic than expected, but would likely be welcomed by investors.

(Copyright © 2010 CBS Broadcasting Inc. and The Associated Press. All rights reserved. )


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