Procter & Gamble is to move out of early-stage drug research and, instead, will snap up new compounds from external sources, according to reports. The move will see around 300 jobs culled, primarily in science-related functions, with the process expected to be complete by the end of June.

"It's really P&G leading a new trend in the pharmaceutical industry," from a discovery model to a licensing and acquisition model, a company spokesperson told the local Kentucky Post, but added: "This is not a cost-cutting move. This is a strategic business move."

P&G says it will now concentrate on three therapeutic areas - musculo-skeletal compounds, women’s health and gastrointestinal – and will look to in-license compounds that are four to six years from the market and in Phase II development. It believes this move will allow it to take drugs through development and into commercialisation much more swiftly.