Occold: Huntingdon Life Sciences to shed up to 100 jobs across its Eye and Cambridgeshire sites

Almost 100 staff are expected to lose their jobs at pharmaceutical research laboratories in Suffolk and Cambridgeshire.

Huntingdon Life Sciences (HLS) is set to shed about 6% of its workforce, including at its Occold laboratories near Eye, where 400 of its 1600-strong workforce are employed

Two thirds of the expected cuts will be made at its headquarters in Alconbury, with the rest coming from its Eye base.

A spokesman for the company blamed the recession for a downturn in orders from the pharmaceutical industry. Some of the jobs are likely to go by August.

A consultation process with staff 'may regretfully result in redundancies for 6% of employees', he added.

The earliest posts to go are likely to be through voluntary redundancy.

Most of the jobs are anticipated to be lost in areas which test the safety of new drugs and would affect staff across the board, including scientists and managers.

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Brian Cass, HLS managing director, 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.

'This is a difficult time for everyone, and even more difficult for those who may have to lose their jobs.

'We have tried to ensure we have supported all our people during this process and hope we have treated them with dignity and respect,' he added.

The firm, which was founded in 1952, specialises in pharmaceuticals, nutrition and chemicals research.

In the past it has been targeted by animal rights campaigners for using animals in some of its scientific research.

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