Roche to shift packaging operations, trimming 235 jobs
- Swiss pharma Roche plans to shift packaging operations for some small-molecule drugs from its Kaiseraugst, Switzerland site, a restructuring that will affect 235 jobs over the next few years.
- The move aims to free up the Kaiseraugst site to focus on the production of smaller-volume, specialized medicines, while packaging for some capsules and tablets will be relocated to where those products are currently produced — mostly in Segrate, Italy and Leganes, Spain, where supply contracts are already in place.
- Over the past two years, Roche has divested four manufacturing sites, including facilities in both Segrate and Leganes, as part of a pivot toward specialty therapeutics that will also ramp up investment in Kaiseraugst.
Like many other pharmas of its size, Roche is retooling its manufacturing network, shedding older sites in favor of building capacity for specialty medicine production. Most of these moves were telegraphed in the company's November 2015 plan to bring its network into alignment with the production needs it envisioned in the future.
"A new generation of specialised medicines based on small molecules requires novel manufacturing technologies and will be produced in lower volumes than traditional medicines," Roche said at the time.
The packaging unit being relocated from Kaiseraugst deals with just those kinds of traditional, larger-volume medicines. Shifting those operations off-site will allow Roche to retool.
"For chemically produced medicines, the Kaiseraugst site will therefore focus on the production and market introduction of new, specialized products in smaller volumes," a Roche spokeswoman said in a statement.
Most of the impact on jobs will be felt from 2019 onwards, trimming the number of positions at the Kaiseraugst site by 235 positions. Roche did, however, emphasize that Basel/Kaiseraugst is one of its most important production sites.
In addition to the divested facilities in Segrate and Leganes, Roche has initiated closure of a site in Clarecastle, Ireland and sold its Florence, South Carolina plant to Patheon lnc. last year.
Follow Ned Pagliarulo on Twitter