A factory of a global biotech firm in Teesside which just three years ago was chosen to manufacture vaccines amidst the coronavirus pandemic is set to be hit with over 100 job losses as the company announces a "global restructure".

The jobs of 126 people who work for Fujifilm Biotech in their three offices in Billingham, Darlington and Wilton are at risk as part of a shuffle of its Small Scale Business Unit.

The company announced the news yesterday (April 16) to over 1,000 of its regional employees as the shake up is also set to impact US workers in Texas, North Carolina and Massachusetts.

In a business update released on the company website, bosses confirmed the restructure has been made to boost its financial performance.

The statement said: "Fujifilm Diosynth Biotechnologies today announced the decision to globally restructure its Small Scale Business Unit, that may result in up to 240 employees leaving the company. 

"Fujifilm Corporation continues to invest considerably in FUJIFILM Diosynth Biotechnologies, developing both its Small Scale and Large Scale facilities and expanding its global customer-centric network.

"Alongside measures taken to manage its operational and financial performance, Fujifilm Diosynth Biotechnologies’ Small Scale Business Unit has been directly impacted by the short-term challenge of reduced venture capital investment in early-stage research projects, particularly in the cell and gene therapies market.  

"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. "

The company added that it is "committed" to its workers in the US and UK.

This news comes just years after the company was chosen to manufacture the Novavax coronavirus vaccine and just a few years ago announced a £400 million investment into its Billingham site.

The project is set to double the size of the site and facilities are expected to be up and running in the next few years.

Stockton North MP Alex Cunningham has since reacted with sadness at the news which he puts down to a "tough time" in the market.

He said: "I am saddened by yesterday’s news from Fujifilm Diosynth about the potential job losses of more than 100 members of staff.


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"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."