Drug Development

Amid layoff fears, AstraZeneca stakes a ‘For Sale’ sign on US campus

After culling workers in Boston and Maryland, AstraZeneca is considering its options for its US headquarters campus in Delaware. The local papers have been reporting that the pharma giant has decided to put its HQ up for sale, but is looking for a deal to lease it back.

AstraZeneca CEO Pascal Soriot

AstraZeneca CEO Pascal Soriot

Back in May the company triggered fears of a looming restructuring that would likely trigger job cuts on the 30-acre site after a spokesperson confirmed that it was considering selling the site and moving to a new location in the state.

This is all part of AstraZeneca’s ongoing global shakeup that has been culling workers out of its extensive US operations. Announced in early May, the company plans to shave $1 billion in annual costs out of the long ailing pharma giant by 2017. Since then the company has been quietly laying off workers in Boston and Maryland. And it says more cuts are likely as the pharma giant looks to chop down its operating budget.

Soriot recently retreated from a pledge to hit $45 billion in annual sales by 2023. But he still faces an enormous challenge in hitting that number. Crestor faces an onslaught of generic competition that will wipe out a big chunk of its annual revenue. And despite progress on the cancer front with Tagrisso, the company has experienced a string of setbacks in its late-stage development effort. AstraZeneca has also been selling off drugs that have either proved to be a disappointment in Phase III or are no longer considered a core part of its business focus. That includes this week’s deal to sell small molecule antibiotics to Pfizer in a $1.6 billion deal.

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