Shire moves 500 jobs to Massachusetts

An efficiency programme begun at Shire before the AbbVie takeover bid has now resumed, with 500 jobs being relocated within the US.

Shire was first established in the UK in 1986, but has since evolved into a very multinational beast: registered in the tax haven of Jersey, nominally headquartered in Ireland, and with its leaders operating out of Boston in the US.

The company still some conducts research in the UK, and has a total of 500 employees in the country, but its main research base is now located in Lexington, Massachusetts.

The new announcement will see 500 jobs move from another US site in Chesterbrook, Pennsylvania to Lexington, a consolidation which the company says will save it around $25 million a year from 2016.

Flemming Ornskov, the firm’s chief executive said the move would help it capitalise on the R&D expertise in Massachusetts, which is increasingly the centre of the pharma and biotech research world.

“Shire has a great opportunity to combine our Chesterbrook and Lexington talent with the leading biotech resources in the Massachusetts area, and we consider ready access to these resources an important element in the future growth of our company.”

The ‘One Shire’ efficiency programme was first launched in 2013, but was interrupted by AbbVie’s $52 billion takeover bid, which was accepted by Shire’s board in July. However in October, AbbVie withdrew its offer after the US government changed the rules on ‘tax inversion’ deals.

Meanwhile, the company also announced that Jeff Poulton, its current head of investor relations, will assume the role of interim CFO from January. He will replace current CFO James Bowling, who is UK-based and will leave in February to become finance head at water utility company Severn Trent. From now on, the CFO position will be based in Lexington, helping to confirm the migration of Shire’s leadership team to the US.

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