AstraZeneca to slash 7,300 jobs, close Montreal lab

Government spending cuts on healthcare and increased competition have finally caught up to drug maker AstraZeneca, who announced it will eliminate 7,300 jobs this year.

The English-Sweden-based company said despite an increase in profits last year, it is anticipating revenue losses during 2012, mainly due to generic competition and the loss of its exclusive rights to Seroquel IR, according to the Washington Post.

AstraZeneca said it will reshape its research and development capabilities at its innovative medicines units in Boston, Massachusetts, and Cambridge, England, but will close a facility in Montreal and lay off staff in Sweden.

Meanwhile, Massachusetts-based Molecular Insight Pharmaceuticals said its new radiopharmaceutical prostate cancer treatment to be used in upcoming clinical trials will be manufactured in Hamilton, Ontario, .

The new drug will be made by the Center for Probe Development and Commercialization (CPDC), a not-for-profit discovery agency, for studies expected to begin early next year.

"One of CPDC's primary goals is to attract new technologies and investment to Canada's rapidly growing medical imaging and radiopharmaceutical markets and to create jobs in groundbreaking, high-impact areas in the life sciences," said Dr. John Valliant, scientific director of CPDC.