Business

AstraZeneca to cut 1,150 US jobs

AstraZeneca sign
Image caption AstraZeneca's profits stayed flat in the third quarter of 2011

Drugs maker AstraZeneca is to cut 1,150 jobs in the US in a bid to further cut its costs.

The firm will reduce its US sales force by 24% as a result of the cuts. It employs 14,000 people in North America.

The cuts come in addition to 10,400 global job cuts announced in 2010 as part of a restructuring programme.

"These changes are driven by the need to effectively compete in a challenging environment," said spokesman Tony Jewell.

The company which makes anti-cholesterol drugs Crestor and antipsychotic Seroquel is facing growing competition from generic drug manufactures.

Drug trials

The company's shares fell last month after a new anti-depressant drug failed to perform as well as hoped in clinical trials.

The UK's second-largest drug maker said the drug, known as TC-5214, was not as impressive as hoped in the first of four tests on its effectiveness.

AstraZeneca hopes that the drug will replace earnings from its existing anti-depressant, Seroquel, which will face competition from generic rivals as its patent expires next year.

In October the Anglo-Swedish company said that pre-tax profits were little changed at $3.08bn (£1.93bn) for the third quarter of 2011.

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