Roche to cut 300-400 product development jobs

Roche (ROG.S) plans to cut 300-400 jobs this year at product development (PD) sites, company executives including Chief Medical Officer Levi Garraway said during a recorded video call with employees obtained by Swiss newspaper Blick.

“We’ve made the difficult decision to reduce our workforce in PD by around 5-7% by the end of the year,” Garraway said on the call. “And that equates to somewhere between 300 to 400 roles that will be impacted globally.”

Roche employs 101,000 people worldwide.

The Basel-based company confirmed the video call took place and said in a statement it would be working with all employees to help soften the blow of losing their jobs.

“Based on current assumptions, the planned shifting of even more resources in Product Development (PD) into the development of new medicines may result in a reduction of 300-400 positions globally,” a Roche spokesperson said in a statement. “No further decisions have been taken at this point.”

Roche has product development sites where employees’ duties include clinical studies for prospective drugs that have emerged from research programmes in Switzerland, the United States, Britain, China and Canada, among other locations.

Jobs affected include business support positions, including project management, project delivery, learning and development, business management, coaching and administrative support, Roche managers said in the video call.

People due to lose their jobs will be told from August to October, with British employees first to be informed, followed by employees in other locations. Their work would cease in early November, a human resources manager said in the video.

“This is the hardest thing I’ve had to do since I’ve been in Roche,” Felix Arellano, head of global drug safety, said on the recording.

Roche posted net profit of 15.1 billion Swiss francs ($16.3 billion) in 2020 as diagnostics for the pandemic bolstered falling drug sales.

($1 = 0.9254 Swiss francs)