R&D shift sees new jobs in China as Western ops are restructured

A pair of reports from opposite sides of the globe this morning underscores the shift in R&D to greener fields in Asia. Covidien ($COV) has officially cut the ribbon on its new $45 million R&D facility in Shanghai, where it plans to employ more than 300 in new research efforts. And Pfizer ($PFE) has finally found a buyer for its old hub in Sandwich, U.K., where about 1,600 research jobs have been eliminated.

"China is a key market in our global strategy, and this investment is a reflection of our strategic initiatives," said Covidien CEO José E. Almeida in a statement. And Covidien--a device and pharma developer--boasted that the operation covers more than 100,000 square feet with 17 labs and surgical and simulation suites.

A consortium of developers, meanwhile, has snagged Pfizer's sprawling R&D hub at Sandwich. Pfizer initially planned to dispense with the services of 2,400 staffers at the hub, which covers 297 acres. But it ultimately decided to keep 800, leasing 250,000 square feet of space from the new owners. 

"We have received several enquiries from companies looking to locate to this site and we will progress these with extreme vigor," the developers say. Pfizer announced the restructuring about a year and a half ago, part of a company-wide effort to carve billions of dollars out of its R&D budget.

Pfizer, of course, isn't alone in eliminating R&D jobs in Europe and the U.S. Roche ($RHHBY) is shuttering its big, 80-year-old facility in New Jersey as Sanofi ($SNY) eliminates thousands of jobs in France. But as Big Pharma is investing heavily in Asia, it's also adding operations in thriving hubs like Boston, so the job flow is not always headed in just one direction.

- get the release from Covidien
- here's the story from Kent News on Sandwich

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