AstraZeneca cuts 132 jobs, shuts Montreal facility


Montreal's pharmaceutical research cluster is under further threat as global giants adjust to the loss of patent protection for blockbuster drugs and challenges in developing replacements.

British drug maker AstraZeneca announced Thursday plans to cut costs by closing its Quebec research and development facility, eliminating 132 jobs.

It's just the latest to make such a move. French pharmaceutical company Sanofi-Aventis laid off 100 workers last month at its R&D centre in Laval. Johnson & Johnson also announced the closure of its research centre and the layoff of 126 workers.

The shutdown announcement comes some 18 months after Merck & Co. cut 200 jobs by closing its Montreal lab, which was once the largest research facility in Canada.

"Unfortunately, Montreal is caught up in these global shifts in the pharmaceutical industry," said Robert David, associate professor of strategy at McGill University's Desautels Faculty of Management.

He said Montreal is being caught in a storm because pharmaceutical multinationals that bulked up through acquisitions decades ago now have to prepare for the loss of billions of dollars in revenue as drugs lose patent protection...

Read full article: CBC News, February 2, 2012

Read related articles: Métro Montréal, Winnipeg Free Press