Shire has confirmed that it is cutting up to 180 jobs at its Basingstoke, UK site as part of a programme to simplify its business.

Since May, the company has implementing the 'One Shire' plan, having previously operated three autonomous divisions. Each of them came with their own R&D, supply chain, technical and commercial structures and Shire says they are being reorganised "so they are one business, with much reduced overlap".

Part of the restructuring has seen Shire discontinue a number of clinical programmes outside of rare diseases and many of those were being carried out in Basingstoke. R&D chief Phil Vickers said that "we understand this is a very difficult situation for those employees potentially affected by the proposed changes" but "we firmly believe…that these steps are vital to Shire remaining a high growth business that continues to develop products that serve unmet patient need".

The company insisted that "Basingstoke will continue to be an important location for Shire, particularly for the UK business". It has "close ties with many UK-based patient groups and key opinion leaders, and a large proportion of the company’s shareholders are UK- based".

Shire also announced that it will re-locate its Swiss operations from Eysins in the canton of Nyon to Zug. It has been reported that the basis of the move is for tax reasons but this seems unlikely given that the tax rates in Nyon and Zug are similar and a source told PharmaTimes that it is a strategic move to an area where the pool of life sciences talent is a deep one; its proximity to Zurich airport is also an advantage.