Shire Moving Headquarters to Lexington

Pharmaceutical company Shire, PLC says its plans to make Lexington, Massachusetts its U.S. operational headquarters and will begin the transfer of more than 500 jobs there from its Chesterbrook, Pennsylvania, site.

The drugmaker is headquartered on the British island of Jersey and currently has about 5,000 employees around the world, including 1,300 in Lexington and about 970 in Chesterbrook.

Shire said Wednesday that the transition is part of a larger effort to increase efficiency and streamline its business globally through two principal locations – Massachusetts and Switzerland – with support from a number of regional and country-based offices around the world.

According to company representatives, condensing operations into two principle locations will save $25 million annually and is expected to strengthen collaboration and research. Shire plans to move the employees in several phases, beginning in the first quarter of 2015 and projecting completion by the first quarter of 2016. Employees who are directly impacted but do not relocate will be offered severance, outplacement service and other employee assistance.

James Bowling, interim chief financial officer, will leave the company in February and Jeff Poulton, its head of investor relations, will assume the role of interim CFO in January.

Shares of Shire traded in the U.S. slipped $1.22 to $208.78 in afternoon trading, in line with broader market activity.

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