UP to 100 people could lose their jobs at Huntingdon Life Sciences after it announced potential redundancies in the run-up to Christmas.

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The international contract research organisation said it was having to cut approximately 8 per cent of its workforce at its Huntingdonshire site because it simply does not have enough work coming in from the pharmaceutical industry around the world.

A spokesman for HLS, which helps to develop medicines for pharmaceutical, biopharmaceutical, crop protection and chemical businesses, said it was being affected by a worldwide “downturn in research development”.

“About 80 per cent of our work comes from the development of new medicines and we work with companies in doing that,” he added.

“We are finding that those companies, whether they are big multi-national firms or smaller companies, are out-sourcing a lot less and doing more of their research in-house.

“Very sadly, that means we have to have this consultation. For those people affected it is an awful situation but we want to try to deal with the process as sensitively as possible.”

Staff were first told the news on Friday. The company, based in Woolley Road, Alconbury, which also has a research centre in Eye, Suffolk, and bases in New Jersey, USA and Tokyo, Japan, is now inviting voluntary redundancies.

The redundancies will be “across the board” because so much of the work employees do involves research.

The news comes less than six months after HLS announced up to 100 jobs would go across its Suffolk and Huntingdonshire sites.

Back then managing director Brian Cass said: “Over the years our staff have been incredibly supportive of the company, previously taking pay cuts to help save jobs, but this continued downturn in our business means we have no choice but to consider this action.”

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