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More than 120 North East jobs at risk as Fujifilm Diosynth launches restructure

Fujifilm Diosynth Biotechnologies UK has said it is facing a restructure that puts over 120 jobs at risk in the North East as part of a worldwide overhaul.

The company has informed its 1,096 staff members in the region that a review of its Small Scale business unit is underway, which will result in job cuts globally. The pharmaceutical firm anticipates a total loss of 240 positions within its Small Scale division, with 126 of those roles under threat across its three UK sites in Billingham, Wilton, and Darlington.

The announcement was made alongside the company’s latest business update, which detailed the decision to implement changes within the Small Scale business unit, affecting employees not only in the North East but also across their US locations in Texas, North Carolina, and Massachusetts.

Despite this, the wider Japan-based Fujifilm Corporation is reportedly continuing substantial investment in the biotechnologies sector, enhancing both Small Scale and Large Scale operations.

The downsizing of the Small Scale unit comes in response to what the firm describes as the “short-term challenge” posed by a decline in venture capital funding for early-stage research, especially in the burgeoning field of cell and gene therapies.

In the statement, the company said: “This restructuring is aligned to Fujifilm Diosynth Biotechnologies’ strategic direction and intended to strengthen its Small Scale Business and elevate its operational and financial performance. It lays the groundwork for a solid foundation from which to build and unlock opportunity in the market, allowing the Company the ability to thrive and reinforcing its position as a leading competitor in the industry.”

Despite the looming redundancies, the company – which also has bases in Denmark and the US, where it has five sites and one due to come online next year – is continuing with a significant investment programme in the North East.

The company announced in 2021 that it would be creating up to 300 new jobs in the region as part of a £400m investment programme. The project is set to double the size of its Billingham plant, making it the largest multi-modal biopharmaceutical manufacturing site in the UK. The new facilities are expected to fully come online in the next two years.

A Fujifilm company spokesperson said: “We recognize the impact that this will have on all our colleagues at Fujifilm Diosynth Biotechnologies UK and our wider Teesside community. All colleagues will receive Fujifilm’s full support through this challenging period. Fujifilm Diosynth Biotechnologies remains committed to the UK and will continue to invest in growing its UK operations.”

Following the announcement, Alex Cunningham, Labour MP for Stockton North, called for a national strategy to aid businesses through challenging times.

He said: “I am saddened by yesterday’s news from Fujifilm Diosynth about the potential job losses of more than 100 members of staff. It’s a tough time for the market and the downturn in research and development has had a direct impact on the loss of quality, skilled jobs.”

“This is a common issue across the chemicals and pharmaceuticals sector, and we have seen this recently with job losses at Mitsubishi and the closure of the CF ammonia plant in Billingham. We need a national industrial strategy to work with and support businesses through the tough times to keep plants open and to preserve skilled jobs.”

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View news Source: https://www.chroniclelive.co.uk/news/north-east-news/fujifilm-diosynth-jobs-at-risk-29012565

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