Subcontracting Saved Jobs at SkyePharma’s Swiss R&D Office

The UK’s SkyePharma has succeeded in salvaging some jobs which were threatened by cost-cutting at their Research and Development facility in Muttenz, Switzerland.

The jobs were saved as a result of consolidating their relationship with Aenova, the German group whose French subsidiary leased SkyePharma’s manufacturing department at Saint Quentin-Fallavier, Lyon in August 2011.

Last month, SkyePharma announced that they would be cutting approximately 20% of their 101 employees currently working in Muttenz, with the intention of improving competitiveness and producing annual operating-cost savings of CHF2.6 million (£1.8 million).

SkyePharma also announced that they had agreed with Aenova to sub-let a share of their laboratory space in Muttenz, and sell some of their surplus laboratory equipment to Aenova.

“Aenova plans to use the space to expand its own non-competing oral product development activities and has agreed to consider offering positions to some of the SkyePharma employees potentially affected by the headcount reduction,” SkyePharma stated last month.

They also pointed out that they proposed to make greater use of third-party sub-contracting in the future for “certain aspects” of their oral product development process, and added that Aenova had “agreed to be a sub-contractor for this purpose”.

Staff Transfers

As a result, Aenova is now employing 15 “skilled staff” at their new development centre in Muttenz, including 11 technicians who were recruited by agreement from SkyePharma’s oral formulation and oral analytical development team.

As well as increasing their own oral product development activities at the Muttenz facility, Aenova will be carrying out oral product formulation and analytical services for SkyePharma on a sub-contracted basis.

SkyePharma will continue to provide oral drug delivery solutions to their customers through their business development team, the company highlighted, adding that the agreement with Aenova “improves SkyePharma’s flexibility and competitiveness as an oral drug delivery provider”.

August’s contract to lease SkyePharma’s entire pharmaceutical manufacturing business and sites in Lyon was for a preliminary two-year period, which is extendable for a additional three years.

Reinforcing Links Between The Companies

The additional agreement in Switzerland “has reinforced the links between the companies and could lead to collaborative development opportunities”, SkyePharma noted.

The original alliance “provided an important opportunity to increase the utilisation of our Lyon facility, generate rental income and enable SkyePharma to focus on its core business of developing drug delivery solutions for the global pharmaceutical industry”, commented Peter Grant, SkyePharma chief executive officer.

“Through this further alliance we retain the capability to offer innovative oral drug delivery solutions, using the same staff on a sub-contract basis for laboratory work,” Grant added.  “Our Muttenz business will continue to operate competitively but with lower fixed costs, providing greater flexibility for our new business and R&D activities.”


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