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15 March, 2006 - 10:18 By Staff Reporter

Jobs to go at troubled Cambridge company

Almost 20 jobs are expected to go from the Cambridge Science Park base of troubled bioinformatics firm, Accelrys Inc.Almost 20 jobs are expected to go from the Cambridge Science Park base of troubled bioinformatics firm, Accelrys Inc.

Some five years after hoovering up the local bioinformatics cluster, Accelrys is cutting 50 staff worldwide in an attempt to focus a group that in its last reported financial year made a loss of £13.1 million, a figure which chief financial officer, David Sankaran, believes is unsustainable.

Despite the reduction, Accelrys is maintaining a positive outlook and recent signs suggest that heavy loss could soon be reduced to something far more managable.

The redundancies represent some 10 per cent of Accelrys’ total global workforce and will be accompanied by a reduction in the space it occupies on the Science Park. The rest of the job losses will come from Accelrys’ San Diego headquarters.

In an SEC filing to US trading exchange, NASDAQ, Accelrys said the actions were intended to: "Further realign the company’s resources with its portfolio of products and services, eliminate redundancies in the company’s workforce and to streamline its operations."

Speaking to Business Weekly on the future of Cambridge, Sankaran said the company could never entirely commit to any single course of action, but did point out some hiring was taking place and that Cambridge featured heavily in the Accelrys’ aim of reaching profitability.

He said: "We are the biggest company in the areas we compete in. We are a global company and are committed to all our regions including Cambridge where we will have well over 100 staff after the redundancies.

"This industry has been a troubled market and has declined as pharma has consolidated. It is a very tumultuous time in our customers’ lives, but we are hopeful that position will improve."

There are signs of improvement, particularly following recent announcements of major new multi-year agreements with some of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies.

These deals have durations of two to five years and represent an aggregate dollar value of $29m (£16.8m) over the term of the agreements, the highest aggregate dollar value ever attributable to multi-year agreements signed by Accelrys in any single fiscal quarter in its history.

The reduction process is expected to result in annual savings of approximately £3.5m following initial total charges of between £2.0m and £2.2m.

Implementation has al-ready begun and is expected to be substantially complete in the first quarter of the 2007 fiscal year.

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