Merck KGaA has announced the planned closure of its Merck Serono headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, as part of a restructure unveiled earlier this year to maximise the efficiency of its operations.

The drugmaker said that out of 1,250 current positions in Geneva over 750 will be transferred elsewhere, but that 500 will be cut in order to “eliminate duplications and create a leaner, more agile organisation”.

All headquarter functions will be consolidated into one campus in Darmstadt, Germany, while key research and development positions will migrate from Geneva to Darmstadt, Boston (USA) and Beijing (China), “to optimally leverage scientific expertise in the biotech hub of Boston and to ensure state-of-the-art clinical development in all key growth markets”.

The company will continue to manufacture biotech products at its Swiss plants in Aubonne and Corsier-sur-Vevey, but around 80 jobs will go at these sites and that in Coinsins, which will see the remainder of its operations relocate to Aubonne.

The move to consolidate headquarters and restructure operations has been a long time coming, since the firm has operated two HQ sites since Merck snapped up Serono merged five years ago. 

Upon completion of the consultation process, the company intends to start relocations and reductions of its workforce in the second half of this year and aims to fully implement the plan in the first half of 2013, it said.

Barclays Capital analyst Edward J. Dulac III has estimated that these planned cuts could generate savings of 72.5 million euros ($95.5 million), Bloomberg reports.