Drug giant Roche to lay off more workers
Oct. 03--BRANFORD -- Just five months after announcing it was laying off 60 employees at its 454 Life Sciences subsidiary, Swiss pharmaceutical giant Roche is saying it will lay off additional employees there in November and close the Commercial Street company by the end of 2015.
A Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act notice of the layoffs was filed Friday with the Connecticut Department of Labor. The WARN Act is a federal law requiring employers of 100 or more full-time workers to give 60 days advance notice of a plant closing or mass layoffs.
The latest round of layoffs at 454 Life Sciences are part of an elimination of the Roche's Applied Science Division in order to enhance the company's overall responsiveness to scientific and market needs, company officials have said. Products being developed by the Applied Science Division will be integrated into the portfolios of other parts of the company.
454 Life Sciences, which specializes in developing and commercializing genome sequencer systems to analyze DNA, currently employs about 130 employees, Carla Moita, head of human resources and communications for the company, said in an e-mail.
"The current 454 sequencing systems will be phased-out in mid-2016," Moita said. "That means that manufacturing will be concluded in 2015 and we continue to support the current systems until mid-2016. 454 Life Sciences is committed to finding socially responsible solutions for the employees affected by these changes including potential transfers to other sites."
The layoffs and closing of 454 Life Sciences represent a setback for the Malloy administration's plan to bolster employment in the state's science and technology sectors. As recently as the end of 2008, officials with Connecticut United for Research Excellence, an organization representing the state's bioscience companies, was calling 454 Life Sciences a real success story.
454 Life Sciences was established as part of fellow biotech company CuraGen in 2000. It was acquired by Roche in 2007 and a year later was in an expansion mode, hiring workers in Branford.
Call Luther Turmelle at 203-789-5706.
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