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Local Tech Wire

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. – Drug giant (NYSE: GSK), is preparing to cut 4,000 jobs, according to a report in the Sunday Times of London.

GSK maintains its U.S. headquarters in RTP and employs some 4,000 people in the Triangle area. Its global headquarters is in London.

A spokeswoman told WRAL.com on Monday that she could not comment about the layoffs report.

GSK is under a so-called “quiet period” in preparation for its earnings announcement on Thursday, she added.

Details about the layoffs could come when the earnings report is issued at 7 a.m. Thursday, followed by a conference call with GSK executives.

The British newspaper said .

According to the Financial Times, cuts will be made in manufacturing, sales, administration and research staff.

Facing increasing competition from generic competitors, GSK also is dealing with falling demand for its H1N1 vaccine as global fears about the pandemic recede.

GSK has already trimmed research and development and production jobs in the Triangle in recent months as part of a series of cutbacks made last year.

According to the London newspaper, the new GSK cuts are “part of its plans to restructure its work force and focus increasingly on emerging markets.”

“The bulk” of the cuts will be made in the U.S. and Europe, the newspaper said.

Under Chief Executive Officer Andrew Witty, GSK over the past two years has refocused many of its drug development efforts on partnerships rather than internal research and development. Witty also wants GSK to pay more attention to emerging growth markets, such as Asia.

According to the Financial Times, GSK’s top executive is under pressure to show his plans to reposition the company with less emphasis on “white pills in Western markets.”

“The fall in gross headcount at GSK in its traditional North American and western European pharmaceutical operations will be offset by fresh recruitment in emerging markets and non-pharmaceutical operations,” the newspaper said. “It will include manufacturing, sales, administration and research staff.”

The company employs some 100,000 people worldwide.

“While it continues to develop new drugs – a risky enterprise – Witty is increasingly turning to emerging markets to find growth,” the Sunday Times reported. “This has meant that thousands of jobs have already been sacrificed in the West, although the company is adding staff elsewhere. For example, it recently cut 2,000 sales jobs in America but added 1,500 staff in China. It has previously said it aims to find annual savings of [more than $2 billion].”