GSK cutting positions in RTP, nationwide

Posted February 16, 2011 4:53 p.m. EST
Updated February 16, 2011 5:34 p.m. EST

— GlaxoSmithKline (NYSE: GSK) plans to cut fewer than 50 research and development positions as it scales back its Neurosciences Medicines Development Center, the company confirmed on Wednesday.

Kathy Pitman, a company spokeswoman, said that of those cuts, less than half are in RTP. Other cuts affect clinical trial sites nationwide.

London-based GSK’s U.S. headquarters is in Research Triangle Park and employs about 5,000 people in the area. Its research and development facilities are focused on metabolic and viral diseases, as well as microbials, musculoskeletal, and proliferate diseases.

GSK recently moved its North American headquarters to RTP from Philadelphia where, according to the Philadelphia Business Journal, the company is building a 205,000 square-foot building at the Philadelphia Navy Yard.

Since 2007, the company has cut about 22,000 jobs worldwide and reduced its U.S. workforce by about 4,000, according to reports. The company announced last February that it was looking to make cuts in the Neurosciences MDC, PIttman said.

The world's second largest drug maker by revenue, posted a fourth-quarter net loss in 2010 of 690 million pounds ($1.12 billion) for the three months to Dec. 31, compared with a profit of 1.63 billion pounds the year before.

GSK, like many drug companies, has been hurt by slowing sales. In addition to slowing sales, the company also paid out $1.1 billion to settle legal claims related to its controversial diabetes drug Avandia following allegations it increases the risk of heart attacks.

GSK has said it intends to sell off some of its lesser-known brands and buy back some of its own stock from investors.