AstraZeneca plans to close its Avishkar R&D site in Bangalore later this year, part of the company's broader global business strategy to simplify its R&D footprint and focus resources on three core therapy areas: oncology; cardiovascular and metabolic diseases; and respiratory, inflammation and autoimmunity.
The closure is expected to affect 168 full-time employees who work on pharmaceutical development and drug discovery research into neglected tropical disease, tuberculosis (TB) and malaria. Pharmaceutical development projects currently carried out at the site will either transfer to the company's Macclesfield site in the U.K. or be completed by external providers. The company no longer will conduct early stage research into neglected tropical diseases, TB and malaria.
However, AstraZeneca will continue to progress AZD5847, its phase II program for TB. In addition, the company's compound library will continue to be made available through open innovation partnerships, and AstraZeneca will continue to help advance existing third-party neglected tropical diseases, malaria and TB research programs for the benefit of patients.
Affected employees will begin leaving the company at the end of April, and the site is expected to close later this year. AstraZeneca's India commercial organization and clinical operations, also based at the Avishkar site, will move to a new location in Bangalore later this year.
AstraZeneca employs more than 1,200 people in sales, marketing and manufacturing in India and remains committed to maintaining a significant presence in the country.
Sudhir Nambiar, site head and vice president, pharmaceutical development, R&D, for Bangalore, said, "We realize this is difficult news for our research colleagues in Bangalore and our priority is to support them over the coming months. We have not taken this decision lightly and acknowledge the excellent work carried out by our people in Bangalore."