PHARMACEUTICAL giant Patheon has announced it is to wind down its operation in the town - putting more than 400 jobs at risk of redundancy.

The US-based firm told staff at its Dorcan Way headquarters this week they will begin a consultation process with employees and around 91 staff across the whole business will be made redundant by this summer.

Of these 25 people in the town face being laid off in the first round of redundancies this August, which are among the 405 Swindon jobs in the firing line before late-2014.

The firm also said it would execute a ‘plan of termination’ over the next two to three years with the company expecting to make redundancy payouts totalling millions of pounds.

It comes after the Adver reported last September the business was looking for potential buyers for the Dorcan site but negotiations appear to have fallen through.

One employee, who asked to remain anonymous, said: "It’s very sad news but we are not surprised.

"It has been running so inefficiently for so long and there has been a lack of investment. It’s too little, too late.

"They had interested parties but whoever was interested would not pay the going rate and rather than flog it.

"The first tranche will be in two years time and the problem will be keeping up morale as people will. They still have to do the job knowing they are going to shut. If they see another job they will be thinking is it worth staying or going as soon as possible. There are people who have been here for 30 years and it is quite sad.”

In a statement on its website the US firm said: "Patheon Inc. announced that it continues to implement its corporate transformation strategy across its commercial and pharmaceutical development services ("PDS") networks to enhance capacity utilization, focus capital investments on its core business, and accelerate operational excellence programs to increase efficiency, meet customer needs, and improve its cost structure.

"The company announced a plan of termination that is expected to result in a workforce reduction of approximately 91 employees across the company's global PDS and commercial operating segments.

"In the UK, the company has begun the consultative process with the works councils representing the employees at the Swindon and Milton Park facilities. Subject to these consultations, the company expects to complete the Plan of Termination across all affected sites by the end of fiscal 2012. The company expects to incur approximately $5.4m of expense associated with employee termination benefits.

"The company anticipates that it may further adjust the size of the workforce at the Swindon facility as it continues its transformation process, with a total of approximately 400 jobs at risk of redundancy."