Switzerland’s Roche is reportedly looking to cut around 780 jobs at its production sites over the next two to three years.

Dow Jones Newswires reports that the Basel-based firm’s chief financial officer Erich Hunziker has made a presentation to investors where he said that the cuts build on the restructuring of production sites in a programme running from 2007 to 2009, which resulted in a 1,152 headcount reduction. The latest programme covers 2009 to 2011.

Mr Hunziker is also quoted as saying Roche is well positioned to deal with the worsening economic environment, because even in a downturn, demand for healthcare will increase. However he added that funding will become more challenging, and even the pharmaceutical industry will feel the impact of deteriorating economic growth in 2009 and beyond.

He was confident, however, that Roche will be able to weather the upcoming storm, Dow Jones reports, because it has fewer drugs facing the loss of patent protection than its competitors. Also several of its key products have major growth opportunities outside the USA, Mr Hunziker said.