287 losing jobs in closing of office in Gaithersburg


Hoffmann La Roche, the U.S. subsidiary of Swiss pharmaceutical giant Roche Holdings Ltd., said yesterday that it will close the Gaithersburg research and sales office of Boehringer Mannheim Group, where about 280 are employed. The facility will close Aug. 31.

The closing is part of a restructuring effort launched by Roche to cut costs and divest some assets after its $11 billion acquisition of Corange Ltd. Corange was the parent of Boehringer Mannheim, a developer and marketer of medical diagnostic tests and equipment.

Roche has said it plans to lay off about 5,000 in the United States and Europe.

About 150 sales employees at the Gaithersburg facility, which served as headquarters for Boehringer Mannheim's pharmaceutical business, have been offered new jobs with Centocor Inc., a biotechnology concern in Malvern, Pa. Centocor acquired rights to a Hoffman La Roche cardiovascular drug, a divestiture required by the merger.

Ron Gurczynski, a Hoffman La Roche spokesman, said the remaining 137 employees in Gaithersburg have been given 60-day layoff notices and severance packages.

Pub Date: 3/21/98

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