UK drug giant GlaxoSmithKline has kicked off a 90-day consultation period over its plans to slash a significant number of jobs at its research site in Harlow, Essex, following a shift in research focus.

A spokeswoman for the company told PharmaTimes News that other GSK research sites are also being targeted for job cuts and will be included in the consultation, but declined to disclose which ones at this point.

She did stress that, with regards to the site in Harlow, the aim is to downsize the plant and not close it, under wider plans to reduce the group’s infrastructure in a previously announced bid to garner savings of £500 million by 2012.

The company has not indicated how many jobs will go at the facility, but various media reports are speculating that the toll could hit 380, marking about a third of the total workforce housed there.

The move follows an announcement by GSK last week that it will cease its research activities in neuroscience, particularly in pain, depression and anxiety, as part of a drive to cut costs, which could, according to reports, ultimately result in around 4,000 job losses around the globe.